Electric Vehicles Take On Deliveries

Everyone remembers one of the original commercial electric vehicles – the milk float, a vehicle that was slow and cumbersome, due to the size of the massive batteries needed to power it.  It seems that the retro image of the seventies milk float is now enjoying a renaissance as different delivery companies around the world introduce modern electric vehicles to their fleets.

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Photo: mrdavisdc

Having tested converted electric vehicles for their delivery fleet since 2009, in 2011 the Japan Post Service Company purchased 1000 converted Fuji Heavy mini-vehicles to fill one third of its annual van replacement quota.  The vehicles are supplied by Zerosports, and powered with lithium-ion battery packs and electric drive. The new postal vans have a range of 62 miles and are about a third cheaper than other manufacturers’ electric cars.  They will run throughout the day, and recharge for an eight hour period at night.

On the other side of the Pacific, in California, the next UPS delivery may arrive in a fully electric vehicle. UPS has purchased 100 electric commercial delivery vehicles from Electric Vehicles International (EVI). After two years of trial partnership with EVI, UPS is putting the vans into service in the San Joaquin Valley, Sacramento Valley and the South Coast Air Basin.  They have a 90 mile range and are powered by lithium-ion battery packs.  The UPS electric fleet will be one of the biggest commercial all-electric vehicle fleets in the world.

Meanwhile in the UK, hybrids are increasingly found in commercial fleets.  Ashwood Hybrids is a company that specialises in adding hybrid technology to standard transit vans, and then supplies them to public sector organisations like the Environment Agency and the UK Border Force. Like other hybrid cars in the UK, the converted transit vans do not need to be plugged in to charge as the electric motor is recharged during braking.

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