A German mail delivery company now wants to sell electric vehicles

DHL won't really be competing with automakers, but sort of.

Automakers and companies alike are pushing electric vehicles with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. In 2011, DHL's Global Forwarding division joined the Environmental Protection Agency's SmartWay Transport Partnership to improve the delivery company's operating efficiency in regard to its freight deliveries. DHL took the push to improve its efficiency quite seriously as the company created its own electric delivery van in 2013, which it now looks to sell to other companies.

DHL's "StreetScooter" is an electric vehicle that has a range of up to 75 miles and, as DHL claims, is tailored to the company's delivery needs, which most likely has something to do with the vehicle's storage capacity, size, and range. In 2013, DHL made 50 StreetScooters with 30 vehicles being used to transport mail in Germany with the other 20 being used as part of a pilot project.

While the electric delivery van itself isn't revolutionary, DHL's plans to sell the vehicle are. The project, according to Automotive News Europe, started as a way for DHL to replace its conventional Volkswagen delivery vans and the company is now looking to sell the StreetScooter directly against automakers.

Automotive News Europe reports that automakers refused DHL's requests for an electric vehicle, as the delivery company wanted a limited number of cars. If DHL were to sell the StreetScooter on its own, the company would have a corner of the market to itself, since automakers don't see the need to create a limited number of electric delivery vans.

Unlike DHL, mail delivery companies usually look to other companies and automakers for vehicles. The USPS, for example, is currently fielding bids from a number of companies for a future, greener mail truck. Before unveiling the StreetScooter, DHL partnered with Renault for its Kangoo Z.E. and Zoe compact electric vehicles. The initial project envisioned roughly 141 StreetScooters on the road by this time.

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