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DHL ditches last-mile electric van project

03 Mar 2020, 12:55 ... an-project

Deutsche Post DHL Group said it will no longer be seeking a buyer for its StreetScooter business and will instead wind down production of the vehicles.

StreetScooter, acquired by DHL in 2014, makes electric delivery vehicles. DHL was initially attracted to the startup because it couldn’t find an electric vehicle it felt met its delivery requirements. In May 2019, DHL announced it would seek a buyer for the unit, but in its earnings release on Feb. 28, the company said it would no longer pursue that path.

“Thanks to our StreetScooter we have one of the biggest electric delivery fleets in the world and have made a significant contribution to the development of e-mobility,” said Frank Appel, CEO of Deutshe Post DHL. “We have always said that we do not want to be a car manufacturer. A further scaling of the business without the right partner does not fit our long-term strategic goals. Independent from the decision today, we will further foster the transition of our fleet towards e-mobility. We are committed to our Mission 2050, which means zero-emission logistics by 2050.”

The release said that StreetScooter would “concentrate on the operation of the current fleet of e-vehicles.”

In November 2019, it was announced that StreetScooter vehicles would travel U.S. roadways in 2020. The company also struck a deal with Amazon to deploy electric vehicles in Germany.

Rueben Scriven, lead analyst for electric trucks at market research firm Interact Analysis, said DHL found it difficult to grow share in a crowded space.

“A number of factors have contributed to the demise of StreetScooter,” he said. “Firstly, there was a significant decline in the growth of the European light-duty electric truck market which only grew by just over 15% in 2019 compared to more than 40% in 2018. Secondly, StreetScooter was looking to tap into the Chinese market; however, the Chinese light-duty electric truck market has contracted significantly due to fears that the Chinese government will phase out subsidies after 2020.”

Competition from ARRIVAL and Rivian also impacted sales of StreetScooter vehicles in Europe.

“While StreetScooter was the European market leader for electric light-duty trucks in 2018 with a market share of more than 30%, ARRIVAL and Rivian, two of StreetScooter’s major competitors, have disrupted the market using innovative manufacturing processes and heavy investment in modular skateboard architectures. This has led to the two companies winning recent large orders of more than 110,000 units in total,” Scriven said.

There are reportedly more than 10,000 StreetScooters on roadways today with the company producing three models: the WORK, the WORK L and the WORK XL. The XL is based on a Ford Transit chassis and has been built by Ford (NYSE: F) in Cologne, Germany, since October 2018.

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