Mercedes Caught ‘Borrowing’ DHL’s Electric Delivery Truck, Using It On Test Track | Feature
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 were interested.
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.
After waiting approximately half an hour, the delivery truck was returned with “no excuse, no explanation.” One day later, Daimler reportedly confessed to the trickery and explained that renting out competing vehicles is a “common procedure” in the automotive industry. While that’s certainly true, it’s probably not the smartest idea to give a fake address to a delivery company.