Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Postal Vans That Run on Electricity

The Los Angeles Times reports several California companies are developing prototype postal vans that run on electricity.

Reporter Jerry Hirsch pens, "In the e-mail era, the U.S. Postal Service seems hardly plugged in -- but at least it wants its vehicles to be. The postal service has awarded contracts to several California firms to develop a prototype postal van that would run on electricity.The contracts are part of the service's effort to determine whether it can convert some, or even all, of its 142,000 delivery vans to electricity."

David Mazaika, chief operating officer of Quantum Technologies, is quoted in the piece as saying, "I couldn't conceive of a better application for an electric vehicle than as a postal service delivery van."

Postal trucks typically travel a short range rarely more than 25 miles daily, easily navigable on one battery charge battery. They usually move at low speeds, reducing the drain on the batteries. And they are maintained by "trained fleet mechanics," Mazaika said.

Tom Gage, AC Propulsion's chief executive, is also quoted. He pointed out that postal trucks are subject to constant stops and starts and low-speed idling, the type of driving "that is about the worst use of a gasoline engine" because it gobbles up fuel and spews pollution.

The aging LLVs were built by a predecessor of Northrop Grumman Corp. in the 1990s. They have a modified General Motors S-10 Blazer powertrain and chassis and can carry 1,000 pounds of mail.

The post office is looking at replacing them between 2011 and 2018.

The typical LLV gets about 10 miles to the gallon and is on its second engine and its third or fourth transmission, according to the postal service. It is driven five to six hours a day, 302 days a year and about 16 miles a day. The bodies are built from a rustproof aluminum designed to last at least 24 years according to the article.

Shown above, Tom Gage, CEO, of AC Propulsion.

To read the entire article, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM