ODIN Automotive starts production of StreetScooter electric vehicles
Financial holding company ODIN Automotive S.à.r.l. (Luxembourg) has officially started the production of StreetScooter electric vehicles after acquiring the production company StreetScooter Engineering GmbH from Deutsche Post DHL last month.
The deal includes StreetScooter’s intellectual property for the D17 and D20 vehicle models as well as the two wholly owned subsidiaries in Switzerland and Japan. Concurrently to the acquisition, Deutsche Post DHL placed an additional minimum order of 3,500 StreetScooter vehicles and retained a 10% investment stake in the venture.
Continuation of vehicle supplies to Deutsche Post
Under the new management team, the vehicles are being manufactured on StreetScooter’s existing line in Düren, Germany, and will be delivered to Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL), with the fulfillment of the first order for 3,500 vehicles.
The Bonn-based group currently operates more than 17,000 of the electric vehicles, which were developed specifically for last-mile mail and parcel delivery, and as such is the largest e-fleet operator in Europe.
StreetScooter Engineering GmbH will continue to act as a supplier of vehicle parts and batteries for the group's planned fleet expansion to 21,500 StreetScooters. Thereafter, it will focus exclusively on servicing and maintaining the existing fleet.
John Burton, ODIN’s EVP of Operations, oversaw the setup and reorganisation of manufacturing operations under the new owners. With more than 50 years of manufacturing experience, he has served as Executive Director for General Motors, deploying their manufacturing system in 12 plants across Europe and personally managing plants in the UK, Germany and Poland. He also worked as both Vice President for Fiat-Chrysler and General Manager of FCA's joint venture with GAC in China.
"We are incredibly proud to announce this step for our new venture. We knew that the operational maturity of StreetScooter Engineering provided a huge first-mover advantage to us from the beginning, and today is proof that we meant it when we said we intend to capitalize on that advantage,” Burton said.
Years of losses
For Deutsche Post DHL Group, the sale ends a long-running saga involving heavy financial investments, the successful creation of a large-scale electric delivery fleet but ultimately the failure to transform the vehicle manufacturer into a commercially viable business. StreetScooter is believed to have lost hundreds of millions of euros over the past decade, including €318 million in 2020 alone, according to financial newspaper Handelsblatt.
Deutsche Post DHL bought the Aachen-based company back in 2014 in order to drive up production of electric vehicles for its German delivery fleet but repeatedly made clear in recent years that it did not want to own an automotive manufacturer in the long run. However, the search for a buyer took more than a year as big-name automotive companies showed little interest in the niche German company.