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Coalition Calls for Postal Service Fleet Transition to Plug-in Hybrids

6 May 2006

The Plug-in Partners coalition has called on Congress to provide incentives sufficient to transition the US Postal Service fleet to plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Austin, Texas Mayor Will Wynn, whose city leads the nationwide plug-in campaign now joined by more than 20 major cities, issued the call during a press conference at the World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) in Austin.

Transitioning the Postal fleet to plug-ins would serve as a springboard for the commercial production of delivery vehicles that could be extended to a wide variety of delivery services across America.

The commercial market would also provide the economic certainty needed by automakers to make the production investments necessary for the mass production of plug-ins.

The plug-in technology is available right now and represents a realistic near-term solution to the serious problems of over-reliance on foreign oil, out of control gasoline prices as well as greenhouse emissions.

—Mayor Will Wynn

The Postal Service is a good target for plug-in applications. Its fleet consists of approximately 210,000 vehicles from Class 8 trucks down to carrier route vehicles that travel 1.2 billion miles a year consuming an estimated 106.8 million gallons of gasoline and 21 million gallons of diesel.

It also has a fairly aggressive alternative fuels program in place, with light-duty hybrids, medium-duty hybrids, clean diesel, biodiesel, flex-fuel (which is underutilized due to fuel availability), CNG (which is on the decline) and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.

The Postal Service’s medium-duty hybrid work is with Azure Dynamics. Initial results show a hybrid cargo van delivering 11.9 mpg, compared to a standard cargo van’s 8 mpg on the same route—an improvement of 48.8%.

The Postal Service also has 28 zero-emission electric delivery trucks in service in the New York Metro Area—again in partnership with Azure Dynamics. The CitiVans are two-ton delivery trucks that replaced diesel-powered trucks used to transport mail and bulk packages between central distribution facilities and neighborhood post offices. The all-electric trucks can travel 40 miles on a complete charge, with a top speed of 60 mph.

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May 6, 2006 in Fleets, Plug-ins, Policy | Permalink | Comments (33) | TrackBack (2)

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Comments

Mass production volume of PHEVs will never happen for the next 15 to 20 years.(They are not selling that well now!)
I predict gasoline will go down to $1.50 after summer. This will cause:
1) the release of consumer buying pressure for going with the more expensive PHEV.

2) slow down Pluggable hybrid sales and development.
3) Depress the stock value and panic envestors of EV battery Technology companies.
THIS WILL ALLOW the Energy Giants to once again swoop down and buy the new battery patents on the cheap. Thus controlling the fate of EVs.
Mark my words.

Correction:
what I meant to say was(Even simple Hybrids are not selling that well now!)

Tony where do you get this stuff? Not every hybrid sells well but the two real contenders sell faster then almost any other cars out there. They are totally supply limited. Those of course are the Prius and Civic Hybrid. To say hybrids are not selling well is basically untrue.

Gas going to $1.50? Not anytime soon. That is a no brainer, constrained refinary capacity in the USA will keep gas over $2.00 even if crude were to drop to $30 a barrel . China and India will keep crude over $50 for the short term, peak oil will keep it over $50 for the long term.

I personally think gas wont go under $2.50 again.

I doubt if the cost of gasoline will go down although I would be happy to pay $2.00 less per gallon than I presently pay. China is adding 6 million cars per year to its fast developing highway system. It is no longer a bicycle nation.

The good old cheepy gas days are gone and are not to return, no matter how nostalgic we feel for the past. We just have to pick ourselves up and move on.

It would behoove our government to push PHEV's for the post office because we know that since the time of the pony express, the mail has always come through and will continue to do so. I don't think we should depend on foreign oil for our mail. Do you?

adrianakau@aol.com

My points are:
1) Even at over $3/gal, people are not snapping up all the simple(not plugable) hybrids made. So I do not think consumers will buy even the more expensive PHEV, even at $3/gal.
2) Therefore, after summer, we can all agree that gas will go below $3 or your $2.50, It removes great pressure for consumers to by cars Hybrids or PHEVs.

3) With no demand for new tech batteries for PHEVs, the stockholders of these battery companies, who, in some cases have millions invested, will just jump at the chance to sell to the first decent offer. This attitude of (bailing out because of no market for the product) will allow the Energy Giants to buy the new battery patents on the cheap, thus controlling the fate of EVs.

Look, I am the guy in search of the "ultimate battery".

It is the last part needed for the EV car. But with these repeated cycles of boom and bust for replacement
power/energy technology, everyone is being worn down; consumers and investors. PHEVs and EVs are not going to be mass produced until oil runs out.

Gas prices may ease but the trend is still upward.The alternative energy train has left the station.People no longer see the birthright of cheap oil.Two price shocks within a year have finally caused folks to consider an alternative way.
The move to invest in batteries was accelerated by the energy bill of 2005.The enhanced security act is going to pass and will accelerate such investment.Investors wait for government to legislate a stable business environment when it comes to energy.
It is then up to manufacturers to build a new tech that is appealing{prius,escape,lexus,camry} to a broad consumer audience.The price premium will continue to narrow as the tech becomes widely introduced.
I am a republican/libertarian and I will buy one tomorrow.When I talk to people on the right I try to persuade them that being dependent on on a region religiously sworn to our subjugation is a recipe for disaster.I have children in the military and if paying a premium for alternatives can lessen the need to fight for necessary energy supplies Im all in.
Environmentalism used to mean condemning attacks from the left and snarky dismissive jokes from the right.Now you have setamericafree.com a righty site warning that we are paying for both sides of a war with our purchase of oil.Then you have a basket of alternative energy sites that trend left warning that we need to be independent of oil.Both sides are singing the praises of phevs.
The train has left the station and left and right are sitting together on it.When America agrees on a thing it gets done.

See the energy blog.Honda fit hybrid and hyundai hybrids in the pipeline in the 15,000 dollar range.Hyundai exec says hybrids the wave of the future.

This is a step in the right direction. Already many government (federal, state, and local) use alternative vehicles such as gasoline-electric hybrids, flex-fuel vehicles, and CNG power. This trend should continue since it will help lessen our dependence on foreign oil.

"Even at over $3/gal, people are not snapping up all the simple(not plugable) hybrids made. So I do not think consumers will buy even the more expensive PHEV, even at $3/gal.
2) Therefore, after summer, we can all agree that gas will go below $3 or your $2.50, It removes great pressure for consumers to by cars Hybrids or PHEVs."

Actually, the fact that people are not driving less or consuming less at roughly 3 bucks per gallon would indicate, to me, that there's no reason to think that prices will fall greatly. We're moaning and groaning but I don't see people driving less, driving slower, etc. Gasoline is still a good value for most people.

production subsidies for non-economic technologies do not directly advance the state of the art. everyone knows this, they just hope, after the companies benefiting from the subsidies take their cut, that some fraction will go back into R&D to create genuinely economic solutions.

it's a scam.

... and it is far better, if money is to be spent, to direct it 100% toward R&D for those future economic solutions.

premature production just lines pockets.

Electric plug in vehicles will only prove the poor condition of the electrical grid. Don’t people remember blackouts and brownouts that have occurred in the last few years?

Whaaaa? Gas below $2.50, I hate to disapoint you but short of a global recession due to $180 dollars a barell which would not be good for oil companies either, it's not going to happen. It will take another ten years just to rebuild and develope the infrastructure to keep us at $65.00-75.00. The issue is becoming more dire each day we sit around waiting for oil to fall below $50.00. Just ask yourself, why is the DOD going hybrid? When the feds make a serious move to conserve and switch to hybrid technology I would take note.

Actually Mark there are a rash of news stories out now that people are adjusting their driving habits.They also are cutting down on energy use in general.
Businesses are losing profit margins to energy costs. This has moved them to seek out conservation methods.The plant that I distribute from has just put in an efficient lighting system.I brought the ceo research material on solar roofs and windmills and he was thrilled to receive it.
As for the electric grid , overnight charging while much of the generation is idle would mean their would be no need for additional generation assets until phev market penetration was considerable.
The Energy Blog story about a Honda Fit hybrid and a coming Hyundai hybrid in the 15000 dollar range seems to show that auto companies are working to bring lower cost models to the market.

The fact is that this current and the future [2008]should invest heavily in restructuring and expanding the grid among other investments in alternative fuel programs. The main thing is to focus on renweable energy production, wind & solar, so that at least we can try to curb powerplants emissions. The Europeans have done this for years now. For example Holland or Denmark, produces 50% of their energy via wind.
This country is so vast and so potentially perfect for alternative energy sources, but as usual, the forces up there that make all the decisions are basically ruining this country by allowing the constant addiction oil for everything. As I said before, the Saudis have one trillion dollar invested in American companies, which are directly or indirectly connected to the oil industry. So, when Speaker of the House take a Fuel Cell concept car for a spin and then leave driving an huge gas guzzler SUV, it makes sense to think that politicians have no direct interest [for now] in truly change the way Americans drive, but maybe in 20/30? years when most of the oil will be absorbed by China and India this country will wake up and say: oh S**t!
The point is that I am tired of reading and listening to people who just yap about what we should do about this matter... just do something!

I meant this current, [2008+] and future administrations...

1000 billion dollars speak louder than
100 million people who vote.
A vote that can be easily manipulated or distracted by arousing other fears that are really non-issues.
Simply put, Americans are addicated to roaring cars
and gas.
This is THE One-Two punch which Big oil has and uses.
So forgetta 'bout windmills and solar.
There nothing more convinient, energy packed and manly as raw gas.

The switch to REPLACEMENT ENERGY sources will occur if one of to events happen:
1) An Oil shortage so deep and so long that the Government will switch policies.
or
EVs stop being nerdy and become sexy and Macho by beating IC cars in major races.
ITS ALL ABOUT MARKETING, AND THE BIG PLAYERS DON"T WANT TO MARKET REPLACEMENT ENERGY SOURCES. PERIOD.

Tony I do agree with you 100%...

Fred

Mr. Earl, I congratulate you on looking into energy conservation measures for your company; I'm glad people are doing this.

I think there is a difference between electric conservation, especially in the commercial market, and petroleum conservation on a personal level. I've seen news stories about people adjusting their driving habits, but I think that, in general, gas hasn't gotten to the price where our society is going to make big changes in how we drive. Yes, interest in hybrids is up, that's great, and sales of the very biggest SUV's are falling, that's really great, but I don't think gasoline consumption is declining. So, my point is that prices will not plummet because consumption is not declining, even by a small percentage. I wish it was -- it can't be hard to reduce gas consumption by 1 or 2% and I think that would have an interesting impact on the petroleum market, but I don't see anyone in the government talking about this. I think our leaders are scared of conjuring up images of Jimmy Carter in a cardigan sweater.

I think when it is time to buy another car, the consumer will have second thoughts about low mpg ratings, knowing that he or she will have to pay through the nose when it comes time to fill up the tank. Stylish yes, gas hoggish, no unless you have "money to burn".

Let us consider the fuel needs for 100,000 miles: 20 mpg=5,000 gal., 30 mpg=3333 gal., 40mpg=2500gal., 50mpg=2,000gal. At $2.50/gal the cost ranges from $12,500 at 20mpg down to $5,000 at 50mpg. At $3.50/gal. which I presently pay, the cost ranges from $17,500 at 20mpg down to $7,000 at 50 mpg. Just do the math. I do not think we are going to get any relief at the pump very soon.

Any movement toward PHEV's is a step in the right direction. We cannot go on as we have been in the past. Some people have the illusion that the prices were going to go down. It is a nice dream. I remember gas at $.37/gal when I was young but it will never happen again.

adrianakau@aol.com

As for me, oil independence of America is the most important. Wind and solar energy are irrelevant, because US does not use oil for electricity generation and EV is just a deceiving dream. Reduced fuel consumption has nothing to do with oil dependency too: oversea oil always will be cheaper then most of domestic, so by reducing our fuel consumption we will lower cost of crude – to great Chinese advantage, and push our domestic oil producers oversea. What is needed is incentives for domestic oil producers, and only after that measure reduction of fuel consumption and alternative fuels will work for oil independence.

Instead of raising interest rates to cool down American economy, feds could impose sensible duty for all imported oil. As I mentioned before, Canada and Mexico (but not Venezuela) will be conveniently excluded from duty due to NAFTA agreement.

There's a difference between the US Post Office and the US Postal Service, be careful about mixing them up.

Thank you. Corrected.

C'mon...PHEVs doin less than 20mpd, are goin to recharged mostly at night...and anything more than 60mpd diesel/EV looks better and better...Big Auto dont just do something...sit there!

BTW...those beaded-seat things for $15 at PepBoys are great when >80F and cloudy(OK maybe not often in AZ,FL,etc)...AC moderate or off, windows open, not sittin in a puddle...

Mr. Earl:  Please use a space after a full stop, thanks.

And tonychilling wrote one of the worst non-sequiturs I've seen outside of creationist rants:

1) Even at over $3/gal, people are not snapping up all the simple(not plugable) hybrids made. So I do not think consumers will buy even the more expensive PHEV, even at $3/gal.
The hybrids people "don't want" are the SUV's and expensive performance models.  People are buying efficiency, which those models do not supply.  There are no PHEV's on sale from OEMs yet so we don't know how they'd do against the current crop.
2) Therefore, after summer, we can all agree that gas will go below $3 or your $2.50, It removes great pressure for consumers to by cars Hybrids or PHEVs.
You think that greater demand for fuel will lead to lower prices?  What planet are you from again?
3) With no demand for new tech batteries for PHEVs, the stockholders of these battery companies, who, in some cases have millions invested, will just jump at the chance to sell to the first decent offer. This attitude of (bailing out because of no market for the product) will allow the Energy Giants to buy the new battery patents on the cheap, thus controlling the fate of EVs.
Demand for batteries will be strong regardless.  Laptop computers, power tools and other applications continue to grow and increase the number of batteries shipped.  Hybrid vehicles weren't the first market for either NiMH or Li-ion batteries, and those technologies don't need hybrids to grow - but it'll help.

Can someone tell me what happened to the several hundred post office pure EV that were made during the late 1990's? I know Ballard did the electric drive part and Ford the body, a Ranger I think.
joe

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