Deutsche Post DHL to double StreetScooter e-minivan production

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German logistics firm Deutsche Post DHL is building a second StreetScooter electric minivan factory in Dueren near Cologne as it doubles capacity to sell vehicles to third parties, it said on Monday.

The new plant will employ 250 people and will be capable of producing 10,000 electric vehicles per year, with further expansion possible if it switches to two- or three-shift operations. It is due to start production in the second quarter of 2018.

“We are now beginning the next phase of development at StreetScooter,” said Juergen Gerdes, head of Deutsche Post’s post, ecommerce and parcel businesses. “Our goal is and remains market leadership in green logistics.”

Deutsche Post initially developed the StreetScooter for its own operations to avoid inner-city emissions after growth in online shopping resulted in increased parcel deliveries.

But in April it took on carmakers by unveiling plans to step up production and sell to other delivery firms.

Deutsche Post said it was now producing a high-performance version of its current model, with a range of 200 kilometers (124 miles) instead of 80 kilometers, and top speed of 120 kilometers per hour, up from 85.

It is also testing StreetScooters with fuel-cell drives, which could travel over 500 kilometers, it said.

Screetscooter has begun developing vehicles for specific industries, starting with the Bakery Vehicle One (BV1), an electric 3.5 tonne van developed together with bakers.

Deutsche Post said it had received more than 100 advance orders for the BV1, with prices from 42,950 euros ($50,430).

It was also talking to energy providers, waste disposal companies, municipalities, airports, facility-management companies and caterers about customizing e-vans for their industries.

($1 = 0.8517 euros)

Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Douglas Busvine