The Royal Mail has started a one year trial of nine electric vehicles, which will be used to move post around London’s mail distribution centres. Produced in partnership with Arrival, an Oxfordshire-based carmaker, the three 3.5 tonne, three 6 tonne and thee 7.5 tonne trucks being tested have a zero-emission range of up to 100 miles. The vehicles have a dual power mode which can be used to top up the battery after the first 100 miles.
Paul Gatti, Royal Mail Fleet Director, said, “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 innovative design and look forward to seeing what additional benefits they can bring to our existing fleet”. Denis Sverdlov, chief executive of Arrival, said: “Cities like London will benefit hugely from a switch to electric, in terms of both pollution and noise.”
These larger payload vehicles are intended to complement the 100 electric zero-emission Partner L2 vans, manufactured by Peugeot, which will come into full service from December 2017. The order follows extensive trials by Royal Mail and the vans will be used by delivery offices across the UK. The Partner L2 uses lithium-ion batteries with a range of up to 106 miles, which can be recharged to around 80% capacity in 30 minutes, when connected to a dedicated rapid charge point.
PSA Group Fleet Director Martin Gurney said “It’s a tribute to their performance in the trials that Peugeot Electric vans will soon be helping Royal Mail to significantly reduce the environmental impact of its delivery fleet.”
Partner Electric customers are eligible for the Plug in Van Grant (PiVG) from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), which covers 20% of the cost of the vehicle (including VAT but excluding on-the-road costs). These vehicle also receive the an Ultra Low Emission Discount (ULED), which gives a 100% discount from the London Congestion Charge and some boroughs (including Hackney) also offer a 100% discount on parking permits for electric vehicles.
While this order and the vans being trialled represent a very small proportion of Royal Mail’s 49,000 vehicle fleet, mobility experts suggest that European countries including the UK could convert a significant percentage of their vehicle fleet to electric over the next 10-15 years. In July, the Government announced plans to ban new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, which has increased development in the electric vehicles market – Volvo, BMW and Hyundai have all announced plans for electric commercial vehicles.