April 11, 2017 / 10:00 AM / 4 months ago

Deutsche Post DHL takes on carmakers with its electric van

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FILE PHOTO: Frank Appel, CEO of German postal and logistics group Deutsche Post DHL looks out of a StreetScooter E-car in Bonn May 21, 2013.Wolfgang Rattay /File Photo

DUESSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) - German logistics group Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPWGn.DE) plans to take on carmakers by stepping up production of its Streetscooter electric van and selling it to external customers.

Deutsche Post developed the Streetscooter for internal use to keep emissions low as online shopping results in more demand for parcel deliveries.

However, it has been considering whether to sell it to others and said on Tuesday it said it would seek another production site and double annual output to 20,000 vans by the end of the year. It plans to sell around half of this year's production to third-party customers.

The group decided to design and make its own van after conventional vehicle makers turned down requests to build the electric vans.

Deutsche Post is phasing out use of Volkswagen's (VOWG_p.DE) Caddy vans in favour of Streetscooters, and going it alone with the electric van project has upset VW.

FILE PHOTO: The electronic delivery car "Street Scooter" of German postal and logistics group Deutsche Post DHL is seen during a press confernce in Aachen, Germany, August 23, 2016.Thilo Schmuelgen /File Photo

Deutsche Post currently has about 2,500 StreetScooter vans in its fleet and plans to at least double that this year, it said on Tuesday.

The company expects demand for the van, which will start selling at a price of 32,000 euros (27,338 pounds), from municipal authorities, strategic partners and large fleet customers.

It will sell the vans itself, and customers will be able to use a network of 400 garages across Germany for repairs and maintenance.

"The large demand for the StreetScooter and our own ambitious climate-protection goals have encouraged us to further expand our commitment in the area of electro-mobility and to also make our expertise available to others," Deutsche Post board member Juergen Gerdes said in a statement.

In an interview with newspaper Rheinische Post, Gerdes said he could imagine production of up to 100,000 vans a year across 10 factories in the long run.

He said Deutsche Post was not planning to float StreetScooter on the stock market but did not rule it out in the future.

Reporting by Matthias Inverardi; Writing by Edward Taylor and Victoria Bryan; Editing by Georgina Prodhan and Susan Fenton

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