E-mail: Three-wheeling posties herald electric future

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Australia Post has rolled out close to 100 all-electric three-wheeled scooters that are quieter, safer, and can carry three times more than a postie motorbike.

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Australia Post is making a slow, but steady shift to electric delivery vehicles, starting with the two-wheeled variety, and with an innovative all-electric three-wheeled scooter that can carry three times more letters and parcels than a regular postie motorbike.

The company – which has also conducted a couple of very small-scale trials of electric delivery vans with car maker Renault – on Tuesday released its inaugural Environmental Action Plan for 2018-2020.

The Plan outlines how Australia Post plans to meet its key environmental targets – namely a 25 per cent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, based on 2000 levels.

As part of its efforts to cut transport emissions, the company has been trialling the Swiss-made three-wheeled electric delivery vehicles (EDVs) across the country, starting with five vehicles in Hobart in March of 2017.

In an email to RenewEconomy on Tuesday, Australia Post confirmed that more than 100 of the eDVs would be out doing mail runs around the country by the end of the month, as well as more than 1000 electric assisted bikes.

The battery powered eDVs are designed and manufactured in Switzerland by a company called Kyburz, and are being used by postal services in various European countries, including Germany.

Kyburz says that the vehicle’s narrow dimensions and three-wheeled basis make it “astoundingly manouverable,” and “perfect for a large delivery postal fleet.”

Able to travel at speeds of up to 45km/h, and with a range of up to nine hours per full charge, the eDVs offer posties a much quieter, safer and more efficient ride – they’re able to carry a total of 195kg, or up to 100 small parcels and 1200 letters at a time.

They also offer the added benefit of being able to be left unattended – unlike bicycles – as the storage compartments lock automatically when the vehicle is switched off.

And with more than 100 now in the Aussie Post fleet, it looks like they are proving to be a success – at least in some areas (they do require an exemption from government to ride on footpaths).

On top of its efforts to cut vehicle emissions, Australia Post has installed solar PV at 49 sites across Australia, including a 284kW system at its NSW headquarters, StarTrack House, in Strawberry Hills, and a massive 2.1MW array on its Sydney parcel facility in Chullora.

Annually, the company says these installs will cut its grid electricity consumption by 5315 MWH a year, saving 4635 tonnes of carbon and over $1m in cost savings and avoidance, every year.

Australia Post is also one of 14 consortium members behind the ground-breaking Melbourne Renewable Energy Project, who are contracted to buy buy a total of 88GWh, or one-third of the assumed output of the Crowlands wind farm, in Ararat.

“We are seeing immediate returns as we unlock renewable energy at some of our busiest sites, which helps to insulate the business against rising energy prices,” said Australia Post CFO Janelle Hopkins in comments on Tuesday.

“Our first ever Environmental Action Plan is a step towards continuing to reduce carbon emissions and achieve our target of a 25 per cent reduction by 2020.” 

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30 Comments
  1. Malcolm Webster 6 months ago

    Australia Post should buy Electric Vans from the Australian Commercial Electric Vehicle manufacturer SEA Electric . SEA Electric produces Electric Trucks and Vans in Melbourne . If Australia Post wants to further expand it’s Electric Vehicle Fleet, they should look to SEA Electric and buy Australian – made Electric Vehicles from an Australian company.

    • Hettie 6 months ago

      Of course they should, but will they?

      • Malcolm Webster 6 months ago

        Yeah will they ?. There is also an Australian Electric Vehicle company AVASS which sells Electric Trikes which Australia Post could of purchased as well .

        • Hettie 5 months ago

          With a fleet the size that Aus post runs, it could well be cost effective for the local company to design vehicles, bikes, trikes, vans, specifically for Aus Post.
          What’s the betting that they didn’t even look at local products?

          • Malcolm Webster 5 months ago

            Most likely not even though they should and they should invest in such Australian Electric Vehicle manufacturers . In Germany, there is an Electric Commercial vehicle manufacturer Streetscooter. They produce mainly Electric Vans and Germany’s Deutsche Post became it’s main customer and which they purchased thousands of these vehicles. Deutsche Post has since bought this company and it is now producing a more of a range of Electric Commercial Vehicles . This is something Australia Post could do with SEA Electric, AVASS or ACE Electric Vehicles . It is very doable but as you said – will they ?. If Australia Post was privatised, maybe this could happen.

  2. Joe 6 months ago

    Quite the sight this Aussie Post EV Trike. The posties get a roof over their heads which is a bonus.

    • Andy Saunders 6 months ago

      Maybe even more significant is that it can cope with greater volumes/weight of mail. Despite letter volumes falling, parcel volumes are rising rapidly and the extra capacity would be very welcome (larger/more parcels could be carried…)

    • Ken Dyer 6 months ago

      Works very well. Some good videos of its applications here

      https://kyburz-switzerland.ch/en

    • solarguy 6 months ago

      It’s my considered opinion that roof would take a 250w flexible panel and the front parcel compartment another 50w. I don’t know if it has regen, but that would be a nice touch too.

      Come to think of it, it would make a good shopping trolley and suburban commuter.

      • Joe 6 months ago

        Send your suggestions off to Aussie Post. If they are going to go all in with the E Trike they should do it properly, yes.

  3. Matthew 6 months ago

    Does Adelaide get any? The trikes could power themselves with our non-existent winter this year – cool but clear skies, without the rain that we should get in winter.

    • solarguy 6 months ago

      Not clear skies at the moment where I am.

  4. DogzOwn 6 months ago

    Hallelujah Aust Post leads the way. Evidently, in recent years, semi trucks, always said to be good for 40 tonne loads, never get more than 50% load so how about electrics semi trailers as well?

    • Kevfromspace 6 months ago

      Have you heard of the Tesla Semi? Give it a google

  5. Kevfromspace 6 months ago

    They should put small 100W solar panels on the roof. Yes, it would take days to fully charge the battery but with these bikes being outdoors all day would offer a bit more range out of each bike per day.

    • George Darroch 6 months ago

      Not worth the weight and cost!

      • solarguy 6 months ago

        New flexibile PV panels weigh a poofteenth of bugger all. Check out e’Arch panels.

        • Hettie 6 months ago

          My thought too.

  6. Mark Shakeshaft 6 months ago

    Brings back memorys to the 3 wheel motor bikes (aka trikes) which quickly became a liability and banned as they had a tendancy to act like a dog and roll over. Great initative on the electic front but maybe a 4 wheel variety could be worth consideration?

    • Hettie 6 months ago

      Some newer model ETrikes have a spilt rear axle which overcomes that problem. Cornering with a non split axle is very tricky.

      • solarguy 6 months ago

        Well you’re not just pretty face nursey!

        • Hettie 6 months ago

          Not so pretty even these days. Forty years ago, hell yes.

          • solarguy 6 months ago

            Hell 40yrs ago I was a chick magnet, fit and in the Army and the uniform helped to get my fair share back then, but looks aren’t everything. As long as we don’t have faces that can’t be used to induce vomiting, we’re cool.

    • Nick Kemp 6 months ago

      You would think they would put the two wheels on the front and the load low down over the top and between them

      • Hettie 6 months ago

        The battery sits over the rear axle to keep centre of gravity low. So does the main cargo area. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/678fafc86d192811846a34131df938a4920ecbe83e4b1b90f5c9565ac824cf3b.jpg

        • solarguy 6 months ago

          Is this your killer machine Hettie?

          • Hettie 6 months ago

            It was. I bought it second hand on ebay, advertised “as new”. Turned out to be 6 years old and very badly assembled. Rear wheels all out of alignment, and my first efforts at riding it were very unnerving. Aversion therapy. I grew to hate it.
            I sold it to a much younger, mechanically savvy woman who has sorted it all out and loves it.

  7. Ren Stimpy 6 months ago

    Keeps the posties and the mail out of the rain, what’s not to like?

  8. Malcolm Webster 5 months ago

    Later this year, the Queensland – based ACE Electric Vehicles will be producing a new Australian – made Electric small – size Ute ( Yewt ) and Cargo Van. These new Australian – made Electric Vehicles could be ideal for local Postal deliveries .

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