Your mail may soon be showing up thanks to electricity

by Sean P. Aune | August 27, 2017

If a new pilot program from the U.K.’s Royal Mail service works out, all mail may soon be a form of email.

When email was still new it actually stood for – and still does – ‘electronic mail.’ No one really thinks of that anymore as it has become so ubiquitous. Another thing people take for granted is how physical mail still needs to be moved between locations before it even gets to your house (and eventually into your garbage can… stupid catalogs).

The Royal Mail service in the United Kingdom has announced a new pilot program that will see it running a trial program of nine electric vans. Before you think these will be pulling on to your street, during this limited trial they will be used exclusively for moving mail between different sorting centers in London.

The first Royal Mail vans to be deployed will be based at the Mount Pleasant Mail Centre in London and will consist of three 6-ton trucks starting this month. Three 3.5-ton trucks and three 7.5-ton vehicles will hit the road before the end of the year.

The nine vans being used are all from U.K.-based Arrival, but an additional 100 vehicles have already been ordered from the France-based Peugeot.

This will make a very small dent in the U.K.’s estimated 49,000 postal vehicles, but it is part of a larger effort that includes programs in Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Ananth Srinivasan, a mobility expert with research consultancy Frost & Sullivan, told the BBC, “Our research indicates that by 2025 these countries may have 100,000 postal service vehicles going electric between them.”

With countries such as France aiming to ban all gas vehicles by 2040, it feels like government vehicles are an excellent place to start. And mail vehicles, which especially in cities aren’t driving long distances, is an even better test bed for this gradual transition.

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Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...