DHL and StreetScooter develop new electric drive vehicle with hydrogen technology

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DHL Express and electric vehicle maker StreetScooter have announced their collaboration on a new electric delivery vehicle. The new H2 Panel Van will become the first 4.25 metric ton electric vehicle with an added fuel cell, which will provide additional power and enable a range up to 500km (310 miles). DHL Express has ordered 100 of the fuel cell vehicles, with delivery expected from 2020 through 2021.

“Openness to new technologies is key to our overall strategy, which is why we’re also supporting the use of this battery electric vehicle with additional fuel cell capability,” said Andreas Scheuer, Germany’s Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. “If we want to promote alternative drive systems for climate-friendly delivery operations, then we need to make sure these new vehicles are priced competitively and capable of good range.”

For Markus Reckling, CEO DHL Express Germany, the new van fits into the Group’s larger environmental goals. “With the H2 Panel Van, DHL Express becomes the first express provider to use a larger number of electric vehicles with fuel cells for last-mile logistics. This underscores our aspiration to be not only the fastest and most reliable provider on the market, but also the most climate friendly,” continued Reckling. “The H2 Panel Van is another example of how Deutsche Post DHL Group is working toward its zero-emission goal for 2050.”

Fabian Schmitt, chief technical officer at StreetScooter, commented, “We firmly believe that fuel cells will play an increasing role in electric-powered transport, since they can give battery electric vehicles the kind of range that is so important for so many customers. With the Panel Van, StreetScooter begins yet another chapter in its proud history of innovation and enters into a new growth phase.”

The H2 Panel Van, which is based on the StreetScooter WORK XL delivery vehicle already used by DHL Parcel, features cargo capacity over 10m3 (353ft3). With a maximum payload of over 800kg (1,763 lb), the H2 Panel Van achieves a maximum permissible weight of 4.25 metric tons. In Germany, an exemption for lightweight battery electric commercial vehicles means that drivers with Class B licenses (normally for passenger cars or trucks up to 3.5 metric tons) can operate the H2 Panel Van. For now, DHL Express will be the exclusive user of the new vehicle. The Group currently has no plans to sell the H2 Panel Van to third parties outside Deutsche Post DHL Group.

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With over a decade of experience as a business and technology journalist working in B2B publishing, Hazel first joined UKi in 2011. After taking 18 months off to bring up her daughter and try her hand at marketing copywriting, she returned in January 2018 to do what she loves best – magazine editing! She is now the editor of UKi's Passenger Terminal World and Parcel and Postal Technology International magazines.

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