Royal Mail testing fully electric delivery vans

This August, Britain’s Royal Mail began trialling fully electric vans built by the Oxfordshire automaker Arrival.

Nine commercial trucks of three different sizes and with ranges of up to 160 kilometres are operating from Royal Mail’s central London headquarters, from which they will deliver parcels and post to other parts of the city and surrounding areas.

“Royal Mail is delighted to be collaborating with Arrival and pioneering the adoption of large electric commercial vehicles,” said Paul Gatti, managing director of the Royal Mail fleet. “We will be putting them through their paces over the next several months to see how they cope with the mail collection demands from our larger sites. We have trialled electric trucks before but not of this type of innovative design and look forward to see what additional benefits they can bring to our existing fleet of around 49,000 vehicles.”

According to Denis Sverdlov, Arrival CEO, the van’s light weight, combined with the automaker’s custom-built power electronics and motors, reduces the cost of operation by more than 50 per cent. Inner-city deliveries are further optimized through the use of a battery that gives the maximum range-to-weight ratio, enabling the vans to produce zero emissions for up to 160 kilometres.

“Cities like London will benefit hugely from a switch to electric, in terms of both pollution and noise,” said Sverdlov. “Most importantly we are priced the same as diesel trucks, removing the main barrier to go electric.”

The vans were among the first vehicles to come off the production line at Arrival’s new Banbury factory, which the automaker claims can produce more than 50,000 electric vans each year using high-tech robotics as well as artificial intelligence.

Royal Mail is also installing charging points at delivery offices across the U.K. to support its environmentally friendly initiatives; however, Royal Mail commands a fleet of 49,000 vehicles.

A Canada Post delivery truck makes the rounds in Québec.

CANADA POST FLEET

Canada Post has the largest federal fleet in Canada with more than 12,500 vehicles consuming more than 24 million litres of fuel each year.

“We manage this fleet using a combination of in-house vehicle service depots as well as a number of outsourced maintenance facilities,” said Anick Losier, of Canada Post, in 2015. “Given today’s realities, Canada Post has made considerable investments in researching and testing alternative technologies to reduce the environmental impact of our fleet.”

Some key initiatives include the continued introduction of light delivery vehicles; the continued use of alternative fuels and technologies (such as liquefied propane gas, compressed natural gas, gas/electric hybrids, full battery electric vehicles and zero-emissions vehicles); and participation with international postal administrations on benchmarking electric vehicle opportunities and other alternative fuels and technologies.

“Canada Post has tested a number of different fuel and propulsion technologies over the years. There’s quite a range of alternate fuel and propulsion technologies available today, and it’s difficult to say with any certainty if any, some or all of them have a place in the fleet without considerable investigation,” said Losier, who added Canada Post has travelled nearly 200 million kilometres (more than one astronomical unit) on alternate fuels and propulsion technologies since its earliest foray into their use.

“We still continue using a variety of these alternate fuels and propulsion platforms. Today, almost 50 per cent of our fleet is comprised of Ford Transit Connects, which are more environmentally friendly when compared to our previous light vehicle fleet of cargo vans. Two per cent of our fleet operates on alternate fuel and propulsion platforms such as propane powered; compressed natural gas powered; full battery electric vehicles; and hybrid electric vehicles.”

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