|The diesel hybrid van.|
At a ceremony today at the Boston General Mail facility today, the US Postal Service (USPS) launched its first converted parallel hybrid mail-delivery van.
Converted by Azure Dynamics, the parallel-hybrid van is projected to deliver improvements in fuel economy ranging between 30-50%, depending on duty cycle. The van maintains its original 6.5-liter diesel engine, and uses a 35kW Azure custom inline inductor motor with ultracapacitors for energy storage.
As an agency that delivers mail to 145 million businesses and households six days a week, drives approximately 1.1 billion miles a year, and consumes more than 125 million gallons of motor fuel annually, we are in a unique position to demonstrate to the public and other businesses the growing viability and positive environmental and energy-savings benefits of alternate-fuel technologies.—Walter O’Tormey, Vice President, Engineering, USPS
Due to the size of the Postal Service network, every penny increase in the price of fuel costs the agency an additional $8 million a year.
The USPS will monitor the hybrid-electric mail-delivery van in regular service—delivering mail to Boston-area homes and businesses—to determine its potential for emissions reduction and fuel-economy improvements.
The Postal Service operates the largest alternative-fuel fleet in the nation: 30,000 vehicles. The fleet includes CNG, propane, ethanol, biodiesel, and electric vehicles. Last week, the Plug-in Partners coalition called on Congress to provide incentives sufficient to transition the US Postal Service fleet to plug-in hybrid vehicles. (Earlier post.)
Azure Dynamics and the Postal Service have been working together since 2003 on series- and parallel-hybrid vehicles. Azure last year delivered a prototype series-hybrid electric CRV (Carrier Route Vehicle) to the United States Postal Service (USPS) for in-service evaluation of fuel economy and emissions.
The scope of the program is to determine the relative economics of both the series and parallel hybrid powertrains compared to current fleet vehicles. (Earlier post.)
Azure also delivered two new zero-emission, all-electric Azure CitiVans to the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and delivered them to the United States Postal Service (USPS) fleet serving the Flushing Post Office in Queens, New York in October 2005. (Earlier post.)