Automakers constantly keep tabs on rivals and their competing products, but
Mercedes went to unusual lengths to get a hold of something rather mundane –
an electric delivery vehicle.
According to Der Spiegel, Deutsche Post DHL and its StreetScooter division
made waves when it unveiled their electric delivery truck. The companies
wanted to see if there was enough demand to offer the model to other
businesses and invited potential customers to drive the truck to see if they
A number of businesses signed up, but one of them raised a red flag. The
report says the company billed itself as a nursing service which was looking
to see if the electric model would be suitable for transporting patients.
This doesn’t sound too unusual, but the company’s mailing address didn’t
show up in DHL’s massive database.
Curious as to why the company would have lied on its application, DHL
alerted engineers and they began tracking the truck using GPS. The truck was
headed towards Stuttgart and it ended up at a Daimler facility. A short time
later, it was reportedly driven on a test track.
DHL was understandably surprised by this development and it wasn’t without
irony as the delivery service had asked Daimler to develop an electric
delivery vehicle for them a few years earlier. Daimler rebuffed that
request, but it appears the automaker was extremely interested in what the
company had developed.
DHL wasn’t going to put up with Daimler’s snooping, so the head of
Streetscooter sent an employee and a couple of lawyers to demand that the
automaker return the vehicle. This apparently caught Daimler off guard as
members of the company’s development team had reportedly just taken the
truck for a spin.