New van from Ford, DHL shows electric powertrains aren’t just for passenger cars

Ford Deutsche Post DHL Group electric van
Electric cars may get a lot of attention, but electric vans could really help reduce pollution. Delivery vehicles rack up more mileage than passenger cars, and they tend to get worse fuel economy than the average sedan.

Ford already has ambitious electric car plans, and the carmaker also thinks electric vans are a good idea. It teamed up with Deutsche Post DHL Group to build a fleet of electric vans for mail delivery in Germany. Deutsche Post, the Germany postal service, was already interested in electric vehicles before Ford came along, buying the rights to StreetScooter electric vans and arranging to put them into production itself. But Ford’s participation could accelerate Deutsche Post’s electrification plans.

The new electric van, dubbed the StreetScooter Work XL, uses a Ford Transit chassis with an electric powertrain and a body designed by Deutsche Post. It’s a bit bigger than StreetScooter’s existing Work and Work L vans, which explains the “XL” designation. Ford says it can hold up to 200 parcels at a time.

The Work XL features a modular battery system, allowing battery packs from 30 to 90 kilowatt-hours. Ford says that should allow a range of 80 to 200 kilometers (49 miles to 124 miles), with charging taking about three hours. Because delivery vans operate on predictable routes relatively close to a central terminal or garage, range anxiety will probably be less of an issue than with electric passenger cars.

Ford and Deutsche Post plan to put 150 preproduction vans into service by the end of this year. By the end of 2018, they want to have 2,500 vans on German roads. That will save 4.75 million liters (1.25 million gallons) of fuel per year, as well as thousands of tons of carbon-dioxide emissions. While the vans will be used exclusively by Deutsche Post at first, the German outfit and Ford are open to selling them to other parties.

Electric commercial vehicles are getting more attention from both established automakers and startups. A new startup called Chanje wants to deliver its first electric vans before the end of this year. Nissan and Renault already sell smaller electric vans in Europe and other markets. Daimler and Tesla are both looking at bigger commercial trucks, with Tesla promising to unveil an electric semi-truck next month.


Tiger Adventure Vehicles offers the best of off-roading and car camping

Tiger Adventure Vehicles is a South Carolina company building off-road rigs out of domestic trucks — complete with all the camping essentials.
The Manual

Two cars once owned by former Beatles members go up for auction

An Aston Martin formerly owned by Sir Paul McCartney and a Mini Cooper that used to belong to Ringo Starr are on the block.
The Manual

This Mario Kart-style go-kart track is opening in Canada

One adventurous Canadian company wants to help you live out your Mario Kart fantasies at Niagara Speedway, a go-kart track in the heart of Niagara Falls.
The Manual

What it’s like to drive a Ferrari as a four-seat family car

Did you know that the family-friendly GTC4Lusso T can fit a car seat and groceries? And it only costs $300,000.

File under frivolous: Jeep’s 707-HP Trackhawk is lovably loony

Is the Trackhawk — one of the fastest SUVs in the world — a dream or a nightmare to drive on the daily?
The Manual

Were these really the cars of the future?

'Fast Forward' give us a unique look at the automobile trends and predictions of generations past.
The Manual

How to put on snow chains (and why you really should use them)

If you're wondering how to put on snow chains, the first thing you should do is take a deep breath. It can be a frustrating process, but safety is worth it!
The Manual

Watch an 800-hp Lamborghini Huracan drag race a 900-hp buggie

VF Engineering turned a Lamborghini Huracan LP580-2 into an 800-horsepower monster.
The Manual

This rally-prepped Porsche 356 is as impressive as its trailblazing driver

Renee Brinkerhoff and her Valkyrie Racing team are on a mission to conquer rally stages across all seven continents.

A gentleman’s guide to stylish motorcycle boots

The best motorcycle boots are as good-lookin' as they are practical.

Husqvarna’s brand-new motorcycles were designed for every kind of rider

Husqvarna is looking to bridge the gap between riders and would-be riders with the company's all-new Vitpilen and Svartpilen motorcycles.

Polaris brings the race-ready heat with the new single-seat RZR RS1

Side-by-sides are becoming increasingly popular for off-roading adventures, but Polaris has ditched the passenger seat with the new center-cockpit RZR RS1
The Manual

Behind the wheel of the 2019 Aston Martin DB11 Volante in Nice, France

We drop the top on Aston Martin's new DB11 Volante and take this V8-powered convertible for a test drive in Nice, France, when the weather is anything but nice.

Take a Don Draper-worthy road trip in this vintage $225,000 RV

Everything from the unique shape down to the luxury finishes makes this fully restored travel trailer worth the price. It's even been signed by Chuck Pelly.