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DHL and StreetScooter develop new fuel cell electric panel van; DHL orders 100 units

DHL Express and electric vehicle maker StreetScooter are collaborating 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.

Panelvan

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. 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.

—Andreas Scheuer, Germany’s Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI)

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. The H2 Panel Van is another example of how Deutsche Post DHL Group is working towards its zero-emission goal for 2050.

—Markus Reckling, CEO DHL Express Germany

The H2 Panel Van, which is based on the StreetScooter WORK XL delivery vehicle already used by DHL Parcel, features cargo capacity of more than 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).

Comments

sd

This does not make much sense as you do not need 500 km range for a delivery vehicle. Where I live (Salt Lake City area) most local delivery trucks travel less than 100 miles (160 km) and I would think that in Europe, the average distance is even less. Maybe fuel cells might make sense for inter city travel until better batteries but for local delivery fuel cells are just an added expense and nuisance.

Davemart

sd:

Have another look at the write up.
They are using it as a BEV when that range works, and putting in the FC range extender where they need to.

Deliveries will have a range, and some journeys are longer than others.

You can be confident that DHL have a very good handle indeed on their journey lengths and will pay more for the RE version only where that is needed, just as La Poste is using FC RE's on their ZE's only where it works.

HarveyD

An e-van with an optional FC range extender gives operators more flexibility (at a higher price). Many operators would have a mix fleet short and longer routes.

A clean solution for a growing parcel delivery based economy.

gryf

DHL is apparently responding to FedEx even using the same type of fuel cells. The DHL H2 Panel Van is based on the StreetScooter WORK XL delivery vehicle (really a Ford Transit Van). The DHL H2 Panel Van has a 26 kW Plug Power ProGen fuel cell, a 6 kg H2 tank @ 700 bar, a 40 kWh Lithium Ion battery, and a 122 kW motor.
FedEx uses a Workhorse custom built EGEN delivery van with a 20 kW (2x10 kW) Plug Power ProGen fuel cell, 11.6 kg H2, an 80 kWh battery, and a 268 hp motor.
A description of the FedEx Van is here. The DHL H2 Panel Van specs are on the Press Release factsheet at dpdhl.com (in German).

sd

I had several more looks at the write up and all I find is that they have ordered 100 vehicles with fuel cells. There is real not much information on the vehicle drive train and how it will be used. I think that the real reason why they are building it is in the last sentence:

"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). "

If it was just a matter of providing a clean, efficient delivery vehicle with the best economics, they would not be doing this. But they are not spending their own money. I do support research but this is not simply research and I would be surprised to see it repeated when it is a matter of money.

Roger Pham

@sd
6 kg of H2 would give an energy equivalent of 132 kWh of Li-ion battery. The 6-kg H2 tank should cost around $3,000 and 26 kWh of FC should cost around $200 x 26 = $5,200. So, the FC and H2 tank combined would cost around $8,200.
On the other hand, 132 kWh Li-ion battery at $300 per kWh would have a price tag of $39,600. Ouch!!! So, the smart thing to have is the FC and H2 tank for range extension, instead of an additional 132 kWh of Li-ion battery.
Just do a little math, my friend.

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