DHL and StreetScooter develop new electric drive vehicle with hydrogen technology

Photo: DHL

At the Green Tech Festival in Berlin, 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 tonne electric vehicle with an added fuel cell, which will provide additional power and enable a range up to 500 kilometers. In a first step, 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,” says Andreas Scheuer, Germany’s Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI). “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 in to 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,” says Reckling. “The H2 Panel Van is another example of how Deutsche Post DHL Group is working towards its zero-emission goal for 2050.”

For Fabian Schmitt, Chief Technical Officer at StreetScooter GmbH, the H2 has potential as a breakthrough solution. “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,” says Schmitt. “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 10 cubic meters (approx. 100 Express parcels). With a maximum payload of over 800 kg, the H2 Panel Van achieves a maximum permissible weight of 4.25 tonnes. 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 t) 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.

As with the larger WORK XL, the H2 Panel Van will be realized in collaboration with Ford. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) as part of its National Innovation Programme Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP II).

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