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Stefan Krause is used to making waves. He’s a former CEO of EV company Canoo, and previously held the role of CFO at BMW. He’s now CEO and Chairman of Odin Automotive, an automotive holding company that has just acquired StreetScooter Engineering (StSE), a manufacturer of electric light commercial vehicles (eLCVs).
He’s been talking to Auto Futures about Odin’s ambitions.
“Unlike other players we will offer a holistic solution, not just a vehicle but the entire ecosystem required to move to net zero carbon footprint,” says Krause.
“We want to solve the electrification equation for fleet owners, making it simple and attractive to shift from polluting vehicles and systems over to zero emissions solutions. The commercial sector constitutes a huge portion of pollution and waste worldwide, and by making it hassle-free to make a change, we hope to facilitate the entire system of last mile transportation becoming both cleaner and greener. This will go beyond just vehicles.”
Krause’s background is in cars and finance. At fist glance, moving into last-mile transportation seems to be a significant change of direction.
“During the pandemic, the world saw a huge boom in the already high-growth e-commerce space. Companies at the front of this movement saw a major influx of investment and interest—but one important facet of this equation that has been largely ignored so far is in the delivery infrastructure behind it,” Krause explains.
“Last-mile logistics is the backbone of e-commerce, yet right now the entire system is inefficient for drivers, behind the times technology-wise, and generates massive amounts of unnecessary waste. I saw a unique opportunity to develop a better solution that would have a big impact for our planet,” he adds.
Targeting Untapped Markets
The move that’s put Odin on the mobility map is the acquisition of StreetScooter Engineering (StSE), the largest producer of electric light commercial vehicles (eLCVs) in Germany, from Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL).
For Odin, StSE represented a rare opportunity – to take over an existing OEM of electric vehicles with the capacity to scale quickly with the proper investment.
“The manufacture of electric vehicles is a highly complex and capital-intensive business to build from the ground up, and as a result their functioning manufacturing line with a solid employee base and existing customer funnel made the project extremely attractive to Odin. But not only this, the data and experience to create the entire ecosystem is what DPDHL had to learn, and did implement successfully,” says Krause.
“Part of our goal is to make the last mile delivery sustainable, more efficient, and more human, and the StSE overall know-how were the perfect fit for this. Many companies think that selling a vehicle will do. But it isn’t enough.”
Odin has also secured an additional minimum order of 3,500 StSE vehicles from DPDHL to continue electrifying its postal delivery fleet.
“Odin will focus on continuing DPDHL’s expansion of StreetScooter’s innovative electric vehicle offerings for universal driver comfort, maximum range and reliability, and extending the product lineup to cover a greater variety of use cases.
“In addition, the company plans to grow StSE’s untapped potential in international markets, including countries in Europe, North America and Asia,” he says.
Following the purchase of StSE, Odin wants to expand, and become a holistic electrification solutions provider.
“In tandem with the StSE deal, Odin has also been working on several other multinational transactions that are expected to greatly expand our fleet offerings and addressable markets in last-mile delivery and beyond. We look forward to sharing more on that front very soon,” says Krause.
“Whatever urban mobility means in 2030, it certainly means more EVs.”
Many delivery and logistics companies are looking into the commercial viability of driverless technology, but Odin has other ideas.
“Autonomous vehicles are a great solution for long-haul logistics that many other companies are doing exciting work on now. Last mile delivery, on the other hand, presents a much more complex set of interactions and pathways to navigate that make it less suited to autonomous driving,” says Krause.
“What I think this sector will see instead, and what Odin is working on, are smart tools which can help support delivery drivers in that final distance between the vehicle and the doorstep or shave valuable time off of each stop with smarter storage solutions inside vehicles.”
Finally, we asked Krause what the future holds for urban mobility.
“Companies all over the world, from retail to grocery to automotive and beyond, have made big promises to reduce emissions and waste or even transition to zero emissions altogether by that time. I think it’s very safe to say that whatever urban mobility means in 2030, it certainly means more EVs.”
“Another big topic to tackle in the next ten years will be uptime and utilization—it’s senseless that most vehicles sit around unused for 90% of the day or more. By 2030, hopefully advances in this area will mean fewer vehicles on the road altogether,” he concludes.