Postmen and women in Scotland are to use electric vehicles on their rounds for the first time.
The Royal Mail has dispatched six electric vans on routes in Edinburgh ahead of a roll-out across the country over the next few years. The vans are among 100 post vehicles being used as delivery vehicles in 18 mail delivery sites around the UK.
Paul Gatti, Royal Mail fleet director, said: “Our research has shown that electric vans are a good operational fit with our business. We are delighted to be using them in our daily operations. This is good news for our customers and the towns and cities, which we serve. It also means we are on the front foot for future changes in emissions legislation.”
He added: “Emissions are an important issue for us at Royal Mail. We are continuously looking at new and innovative ways to reduce our carbon footprint. Improving the efficiency of our fleet by introducing electric vans is just one example.”
Charging stations have been installed at the Edinburgh Dell delivery office for the new vehicles.
The electric vans made by Peugeot – which are believed to be one of the largest single purchases of electric commercial vehicles in the UK – will be direct replacements for older vehicles that have reached the end of their operational life. Royal Mail is also using electric vehicle technology for larger commercial vehicles to move mail within its network.
The electric-powered Peugeot van, which can be recharged to 80 per cent capacity in 30 minutes from a fast charge point, does not look unlike a typical Royal Mail delivery van. The manufacturer said that a lithium-ion battery pack is fitted under the load floor, ensuring there is no loss of space compared with petrol and diesel-powered models.
The Royal Mail said it had already met its business target of reducing its carbon emissions in the UK by 20 per cent by 2010 to 2021.
The company’s fleet comprises about 49,000 vehicles in total.
Earlier this year, London airport Heathrow announced a trial of electric buses to transport passengers on airside, as well as launching a fleet of 200 electric cars to ferry passengers to and from the city.
Last year, the Scottish Government unveiled plans to phase out new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032, while it also proposed to turn the A9 into “Scotland’s first fully electric-enabled highway”.
In 2017, it emerged that Scotland’s 32 councils spent nearly £1 million on 147 electric cars over the past seven years, including Glasgow City Council, which has 17 electric vehicles.