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.