French Post Office Will Have 10,000 EV's In Use By 2011


The United States Postal Service, or USPS, was once the most integral part of society. Through rain and sleet and snow, the postman always came through. That was the good ol’ days. Now, more than half the mail that comes through the USPS is from direct mailers (i.e. junk mail) and the USPS is hemorrhaging money in the billions of dollars. Sure, there if the inefficient bueracracy that needs a serious reworking, but a big consumer of money are those tiny post trucks scooting around time, literally sucking the post office dry by going through so much gas.

This is an area that even skeptics agree electric vehicles will flourish, and not just in the U.S. France plans to have its postal system, La Poste, using 10,000 electric vehicles by the end of 2011.

I love the USPS, I just don’t love how it cannot sustain itself. I rarely say this, but the U.S. needs to take a cue from France. The French postal service, La Poste, has been seriously working on reducing fuel consumption since 2009. First, they started teaching their drivers how to get the most out of their tank of gas through hypermiling techniques. This alone has produced annual fuel savings of around 15%.

The plan to put 10,000 electric vehicles in La Poste’s hands actually began back in 2007, and should culminate by the end of 2011. Some offices will get Citreon Berlingo electric delivery vans (pictured above), many of which are already on the roads. Other postal carriers will have their four wheels replaced by electric bicycles, and still others will have to walk, aided by an electronic trolley. All told though, it should have the effect of smoothing out much of La Poste’s overhead and save millions, if not billions of dollars over the years. France is in fact replacing much of its government fleets with electric vehicles, multiplying the savings at a time when even major governments are feeling the squeeze of the worldwide recession.

Implementing such a plan in American cities would be a breeze, and the USPS is experimenting with alternative fuel vehicles already. However, even if the USPS went about bought 20,000 electric delivery vans tomorrow though, it would be but a drop in the bucket as the USPS employs over 200,000 vehicles to ship and deliver mail. Almost all those vehicles need fuel…and that fuel ain’t cheap. Sounds like before they start buying replacement vehicles, they might want to consider some serious downsizing first.

Source: TreeHugger

About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he’s running, because he’s one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • I’m screaming as loud as I can… Where are we going to get the electricity to keep all these EV hogs charged up??? We’re blowing up mountains at a rate that will completely destroy the Appalachian mountains in 20 years just to get coal to keep the lights on. And, people are hot to trot for EVs? When there is enough clean electrons from wind/solar for EVs then I’ll buy one, but until then forget it. I’d like to see the calculations on efficiency of gasoline vs coal/electricity. My guess is overall it’s still less impactful on the environemt to use petroleum directly even with all their CO2 than coal converted to electricity to drive EVs.

    • My understanding is a 35% increase in gas mileage if the gas is burned at a central plant to produce electricity. The reason for savings is 1. The oil can be used without being refined to gasoline – refinement process consumes energy. 2. the heat generated by your engine is instead captured and turned into more electricity.

      I’m no expert but that is what I think I have digested from reading. Even the loss of electricity due to transmission was considered. But, unclear if the loss due to battery storage was considered.

  • Lee

    I keep hearing numbers like $1.00 to $1.50 to recharge a Leaf from the outlet at home. If it is anything close to that, the cost is certainly greatly reduced over gas when you figure their range is probably equivalent to what 2 gallons would get on an efficient car.

    I wonder if an EV would be more or less suceptible to the various strikes that seem to grind all of France to halt with a fair regularity.

  • The same year we Americans started a Dept. of Energy, France was in their 100th year.They are world leaders in Nuclear Energy now, and the 3rd fastest country at adding off shore wind.We need to take a few lessons from the French when it comes to this.And to the above ‘hebintn’; EV’s are many times cleaner or greener than an ICE even when the electricity is 100% produced by coal, because the VERY BEST ICE average about 30% effiency , and an average EV is in the 90% range. Not to mention that almost no electricity is imported.

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