Five questions for Jürgen Gerdes on Streetscooter
Jürgen Gerdes, the Board Member for Post - eCommerce - Parcel, answers five key questions on the innovative electric delivery vehicle developed in-house by Deutsche Post DHL Group - the Streetscooter.
Jürgen Gerdes, the Board Member for Post - eCommerce - Parcel
1. What was behind the decision of the Post - eCommerce - Parcel division of Deutsche Post DHL Group to begin the production of electric vehicles? How are you approaching this as a new entrant to this market?
Jürgen Gerdes: We operate one of the largest vehicle fleets in Germany. And it was clear to us from quite an early stage: our vehicles don't just need to evolve to respond to business developments and to meet the tough demands of everyday postal deliveries. There is also an increasing need for them to be emission-free. However, there were no such vehicles available on the market. We therefore decided in 2011 to design and develop our own vehicle. Together with the company StreetScooter, which we acquired in 2014, we were able to do this in record time. After just three years, our tailor-made electric vehicle was ready for the market - a very quick and efficient result! In the meantime, we have put more than 500 vehicles into action and will have 2000 more by the end of the year.
2. Is DPDHL Group now planning to compete with the automotive manufacturers in this vehicle segment? There must surely be enquiries from other companies...
Jürgen Gerdes: We see ourselves first and foremost as a pioneer and innovation leader among operators of commercial vehicle fleets. But it's true: there have been enquiries from other companies. At the moment, however, we need the production capacity for our own requirements.
3. Why did you not consider the electric vehicles offered by major automotive manufacturers?
Jürgen Gerdes: For one simple reason: we just didn't receive any offers that sufficiently met our special requirements.
4. Which special criteria should an electric vehicle fulfill at Post - eCommerce - Parcel? The drivers must have to mount and dismount regularly, and the cabin heating as well as the range of the vehicle must be an issue in winter...
Jürgen Gerdes: There are a number of criteria. The most important are as follows: due to the large quantity of packages, our vehicle needs a high payload - up to 700 kilos; it should be possible to access the cargo cabin from multiple sides; the driver's cabin should also be equipped with fixtures and sufficient space to hold letter containers; and finally, the vehicle should be optimized from a design perspective and constructed in such a way that it makes getting in and out and loading the vehicle as easy as possible for our delivery personnel. Maximum speed is less important for us, and we don't need extras such as satnavs or radio.
5. Is it your long-term aim to electrify your entire fleet, or will you still have diesel and petrol vehicles in the future?
Jürgen Gerdes: Environmental protection begins when you reduce and avoid your CO2 emissions as much as possible. In this respect, we make use of every option that is available to us. All technologies that can support us here are very welcome!