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.”
Sophie is editor of OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au and deputy editor of its sister site, RenewEconomy.com.au. Sophie has been writing about clean energy for more than a decade.