The e-mobile revolution is arriving by mail

Automotive-sector | Since 2015 the Deutsche Post DHL GROUP has been proving that e-mobility really is suitable for everyday use with its battery-powered “StreetScooters”. To get the CO2-free delivery vehicles fit for daily use on the roads, the logistics giant put its faith in two companies that at first glance could not be more different: a small start-up from Aachen and the global thyssenkrupp Group.

One morning in Berlin: While the noise of cars, buses and trucks on the streets of the German capital becomes increasingly deafening, a yellow box van turns almost silently into one of the narrow side streets. Its secret: Instead of a conventional internal combustion engine the vehicle has a 30 kW electric motor. With a range of 80 kilometers it can reach a top speed of 80 km/h. That’s more than enough for everyday deliveries – as is the eight cubic meter loading space that can hold up to 120 parcels. The name of the electric vehicle: StreetScooter, model “Work L”. A success story based on courage, business acumen and the belief that widespread e-mobility is possible.

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From research project to mass production

The project started out with the vision of Aachen-based Professor Achim Kampker. He is convinced: “E-mobility makes inventions possible that would have been unthinkable just ten years ago. We wanted to prove that low-volume production can be affordable and doesn’t need long development times.” What began in 2010 as a research project aroused the interest of Deutsche Post just a year later: The speedy and maneuverable e-runabout was a perfect match for their “Go Green” concept. In 2014 the group took over the StreetScooter GmbH company that had by then been established. There are now already more than 2,500 of these innovative vans on the roads – efficient, emission-free and quiet. In Berlin alone the postal service is saving more than 150 tons of CO2 per year thanks to the StreetScooter.

thyssenkrupp brings the StreetScooter to life

The key enabler for Kempker’s dream is thyssenkrupp: the company had already recognized the StreetScooter’s huge potential for combining sustainable drive technology and cost-effectiveness during the early stages of its development. thyssenkrupp’s experience in the automotive sector ultimately made it the perfect partner for the ambitious project. To make the StreetScooter suitable for everyday use, the global player and the young start-up joined forces to completely rethink conventional automotive concepts. With up to 300 stops and starts every day and extreme weight fluctuations, the e-runabout presented the partners with an array of new challenges in terms of efficiency, durability, safety and functionality. The solution: a robust lightweight body made of steel, a battery cleverly built into the floor so that it is protected in the event of a crash, and dampers designed specifically for the vehicle to guarantee comfort and safety over the entire delivery route. “In close collaboration we came up with a really ingenious design,” says Achim Kampker.

Enough power for every day and the future

The postal service has big ambitions for the future: In addition to an XXL version, the logistics player is planning to ramp up production to 20,000 vehicles per year in the medium term – and aiming to electrify the entire delivery fleet in the long term. Due to high demand, the company recently even began selling its innovation to external customers. Its success proves that with a good idea and in close collaboration with experienced partners like thyssenkrupp, cost-effective and practical e-mobility is no longer just a utopian vision.