So what happens if your company is looking for something to meet its demands but does not exist in the market? Most companies would settle for the next best thing and try to modify it to best fit their needs. However, that is not what the German postal office did. When Deutsche Post couldn't find a supplier to meet their demands of a zero-emission delivery van, instead of settling for the next best thing on the market, they went out and purchased a start up company developed their own. And due to their successful venture investment, they may now start selling those vehicles to fill the void in the market.
Europe's largest postal service claims they will break even on the venture just after 2500 units. This is a major contrast to some the global leaders in electric vehicles such as Tesla and General Motors, which may still even lose money despite government incentives and subsidies. Dubbed StreetScooter, the boxy, and not so aesthetically-pleasing delivery van is set disrupt the flow in the electric car market. And while it does not come equipped with air conditioning, radio, nor a passenger seat and only provides a max speed of 80 km/h, the electric van's success has irked the major players in the electric car market. "It's a good example of a startup stimulating competition in the industry and putting pressure on the established manufacturers," Stefan Bratzel said, director of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany. And while the real test is yet to come, when the leaders in the electric car market responds with their own version of the electric van to fill the niche, the German post office stands to make a nice profit in between the gap.
The mail company currently has plans to produce 10,000 units of the electric van annually starting this year, which will ensure the StreetScooter as the number 1 electrified light commercial vehicle Europe, overtaking Renault's Kangoo. The company claims they can boost the number to 15,000 units if demands are high. Deutsche Post plans to replace its global fleet of 92,000 vans to electric and has already started the switch from diesel. They will double their current German fleet to about 4000 units by year's end. And while battery limitations only allow the van to travel 80 km on a single charge, when the technology improves, they plan to deploy the van in rural areas. Rival UPS has taken a different track on going green by retrofitting their diesel engines with batteries, which is a very slow process. With all the accounting in order, purchasing and operating costs are measured, the German post has come out on top with StreetScooters. With maintenance costs for electric vehicles about 35 per cent less than combustion engines, the shift to a greener solution is also a more profitable one.