Is Ford of Europe really part of the Ford Motor Company? The two seem to be worlds apart when it comes to embracing electric vehicles. Until recently, CEO Mark Fields was telling anyone who would listen that nobody wants to buy electric cars.
Fields has been sent packing, but that hasn’t led to any significant change in the narrative coming out of company headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. But Ford of Europe has linked up with Deutsche Post to build a larger version of the electric truck DHL designed itself last year. (Ford is also in the group that has agreed to advance superfast charging in Europe.)
Called the StreetScooter Work XL, it is customized to be ideal for urban delivery chores. It has over 700 cubic feet of cargo capacity and is fitted with internal shelving. The interior of the electric truck is accessed by a rear-loading door and a side door for curbside loading and unloading, and is connected directly to the driver’s compartment.
Customers can select from various available battery sizes according to their needs. The basic battery is rated at 30 kWh and has 50 miles of range. Opt for two battery modules for more range or three to obtain the maximum range of 124 miles. Charging at up to 22 kW of power is available, allowing the battery to fully recharged in as little as 3 hours.
Deutsche Post and Ford plan to produce 150 early-release vans at the StreetScooter factory in Aachen, Germany, this year. The goal is to manufacture 2,500 e-vans by the end of 2018. “We’re really proud of this ambitious project, and of the strong partnership we’ve developed with Deutsche Post, DHL Group, and StreetScooter,” says Steven Armstrong, president of Ford’s Europe, Middle East, and Africa operations.
“This joint project will be Europe’s largest manufacturer of emission-free, medium-sized e-vans, and it doesn’t come a moment too soon. Buses, cars, and of course, delivery vans play vital roles in our daily lives, but we have to find a way to make them cleaner. This project is a great step along this path.”
Each WORK XL could save around 6 tons of carbon dioxide emissions and 1,900 liters of diesel fuel each year. With 2,500 vehicles in service, total savings of 14,000 tons of CO2 and nearly 5 million liters of diesel fuel are possible. Deutsche Post is a leader in the field of green delivery technology. Worldwide, it already has 3,000 of its smaller Work And Work L electric delivery vans in service, as well as 10,500 pedal/electric scooters it uses for “last mile” purposes in cities where streets are too narrow or congested for traditional trucks.
Volkswagen was stung when Deutsche Post decided to design and build its own electric truck. Seeing Ford now involved with manufacturing them must be doubly painful for the people from Wolfsburg.