More than 120 years after it first dabbled in electric delivery vehicles, Royal Mail has confirmed it will test the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC)’s new zero emissions model
Royal Mail is set to dispatch a new type of electric vehicle (EV) from later this month, as the company steps up efforts to curb the emissions and air pollution generated by its fleet of delivery vans.
The firm announced earlier this week that it had signed a deal with London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) to test prototypes of a new electric taxi-van over the next six months, across various urban centres around the UK.
LEVC’s VN5 plug-in hybrid model is equipped with ‘range extender’ technology that allows drivers to travel longer routes that a typical electric van, a feature that will allow postmen and women to deliver mail and parcels to remote locations in an environmentally responsible manner, the companies said.
The trial, which beings this week in Hockley near Birmingham, will further boost Royal Mail’s 295-strong fleet of EVs.
The 2.9 tonne VN5 is set to hit the market in late 2020, a launch that will mark a major milestone for LEVC’s transformation from taxi manufacturer to commercial EV producer.
In the meantime, the London Electric Vehicle Company is trialling the prototype with more than two dozen companies across the UK, including through a recently announced partnership with parcel delivery firm DPD.
The Coventry-based brand formerly known as the London Taxi Company is best known for producing London’s iconic black taxicabs.
Royal Mail’s fleet director Paul Gatti toasted the partnership, which he said would contribute to a number of decarbonisation iniatives at the delivery firm. “We are committed to making changes to our operations that reduce our environmental impact, whilst ensuring we continue to meet customer expectations,” he said. “Alongside the introduction of electric vans in locations across our business, this trial is part of a programme of initiatives that allow us to experiment with ways to achieve this, whilst enabling us to continue to deliver letters and parcels safely, efficiently and responsibly.”
Joerg Hofmann, chief executive of LEVC, added: “Royal Mail is one of the oldest postal services in the world and, like our London black cab, is part of British history and culture. It is great that these two iconic brands are joining forces for this trial.”
EVs were first trialled by Royal Mail more than 120 years ago, when the company experimented with a raft of technologies that would allow it to transition from delivering post by horse-drawn mail coach and foot.
After a brief dalliance with vehicles powered by traction engines – self-propelled steam engines – the company settled on oil-driven motor vehicles in 1904. But the company is now hoping its fleet can come full circle and eventually switch fully to zero emission technologies.ฃ