An new small electric delivery vehicle is coming to the United States—and it's probably not one you'd expect.
Deutsche Post DHL Group is bringing its StreetScooter line of light-duty delivery vehicles to the U.S. market, as the company looks to expand its reach beyond its existing European and Asian customers.
Of the existing StreetScooter models, the updated Work and Work L are the most likely to be offered here first. The models are offered as box vans, open-bed pickups, or in a "Pure" chassis cab configuration for customers with more specialized needs. Both the box and pickup models offer nearly 1,600 pounds of payload capacity; Pure buyers have just under 2,000 pounds to work with, less the weight of their custom components.
These vans are meant for urban customers first and foremost. While models equipped with larger battery packs (40 kwh in its smaller vans; 76 kwh in its "XL" truck) could potentially offer as much as 80 miles of range (by rough conversion of their NEDC ratings), the standard 20 kwh battery pack is probably not good for more than 45 or 50 miles, which goes quickly even in some urban environments.
"Our upgraded electric light commercial vehicles are the ideal operating equipment for environmentally conscious fleet customers," says CEO Jörg Sommer
Nissan e-NV200 - First Drive, June 2014
DHL's move is bold, especially since Nissan, which once showed great tenaciousness in electrifying the U.S. automotive marketplace, has deliberately chosen to ignore this particular segment. Though it fought for the opportunity to develop New York's new taxi cabs, Nissan continues to shun the U.S. market with the battery-electric variant of its NV200.
It remains to be seen, then, whether DHL's decision to bring StreetScooter stateside will pay off. If it's successful, it be yet another major victory for a company that started out with the goal of building mail delivery fans for Deutsche Post.