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USPS OIG Concludes Electrification of Post Office Delivery Fleet Operationally Feasible, But Costly; Federal Funds and V2G Revenue Required

Uspsrange
More than 96% of the USPS delivery fleet drives less than 40 miles per day. Data: USPS OIG report. Click to enlarge.

Broad use of electric vehicles (EVs) in the US Postal Service (USPS) delivery fleet would be operationally feasible, according to a study assessing the operational and economic feasibility of moving the fleet to EVs conducted by the USPS Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Electrification of the USPS fleet could also provide a valuable opportunity for the nation to test EV technology.

However, the report finds, due to the Postal Service’s current financial distress, government funds and vehicle to grid (V2G) revenue would likely be needed to make this transition economically feasible.

Operational feasibility. The OIG evaluation determined that even current EV technology would work well with the average mail delivery driving distance of approximately 18 miles per day.

More than 96% of USPS delivery vehicles drive less than 40 miles per day.

Previous delivery operations tests under favorable environmental conditions within California showed that the EV performance levels were adequate for mail delivery ranges of up to 40 miles a day and battery technology has advanced considerably since then resulting in significantly increased driving distance ranges. Less than 4% of the delivery fleet has driving distances that exceed that amount.

To capture the benefits of the current Federal investments in battery technology, however, the report recommends a phased approach to electrification to be able to capture the benefits of future technologies before widespread adoption of earlier technologies in the fleet.

Economic feasibility. In its current financial condition, the Postal Service expects investments of its available capital to generate a high return and have a short payback period—at least 30% in fewer than three years.

The report authors evaluated four economic scenarios for acquiring 3,000 electric vehicles for use in delivery operations:

  • Postal Service purchases and maintains vehicles without government funds or grid revenue. This resulted in a payback time of greater than 10 years and an IRR = -1%.

  • Purchasing and maintaining vehicles without government funds, but generating grid revenue with V2G. This resulted in a payback time of 5.6 years and an IRR of 15.3%.

  • Purchasing and maintaining vehicles with available DOE program grants. This resulted in a payback time of 5.5 years and an IRR of 19.9%.

  • Purchasing and maintaining vehicles with grid revenue and DOE program grants. This resulted in a payback period of less than 2 years and an IRR of 63.2%.

V2G and the Postal Service. The Postal Service has a total fleet of some 146,000 delivery vehicles which are parked from approximately 5:00 pm to 8 am. Currently about 20% of the delivery fleet is in an area which offers V2G. Based on the planned expansion of V2G opportunities over the next 2-5 years, the report recommends testing and deploying Postal Service EVs in geographical areas that offer V2G.

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Comments

Henry Gibson

ZEBRA batteries are more than adequate and have been available for over ten years. Lead acid batteries are also now more than adequate. TZERO(ACpropulsion) proved that ten years ago. A simple engine permanent magnet alternator,(the main part of a HONDA EU1000i), is adequate for emergency battery charging, as are other similar machines. ..HG..

Alessio

What are these guys talking about?
>10 years payback time?
Less than 40 miles a day, with 15 hours charging time, they could even use lead acid batteries!
It seems like someone is pushing from above to support the V2G hype

mahonj

They only need to electrify the short runs with lots of stops (maybe they all have lots of stops).

If they bought expensive EVs, they could use them outside the 8-5pm timeframe, and perhaps get 14-16 hours / day / vehicle. This would require some work practice changes, but would shorten the payback time.

I would leave V2G out of it for the first year or so and just see how they get on with EVs.

As people have pointed out, if the ranges are that short and that predictable, you should be able to use smaller, cheaper batteries, and size them appropriatly.

mahonj

They should use bicycles for the shortest journeys - say < 20 miles / day.
It could be optional, I wouldn't force it on people.

Postmen still use bikes in Ireland where we have a mild climate (new style bikes, not aincent ones).

They got policemen back onto bikes in the US mainly due to health considerations - the same could be done for postmen with a little creative thinking.

The postmen would be fitter, and there would be less resources used. If the weather was bad, they could use the ICE vehicles they used to use, but much less than 250 days / year.

They could even use electric bikes if the loads were too heavy.

Nat Pearre

"If they bought expensive EVs, they could use them outside the 8-5pm timeframe, and perhaps get 14-16 hours / day / vehicle. This would require some work practice changes, but would shorten the payback time."

The more time they are providing V2G, the more revenue they generate, so the shorter their pay-back time. Changing post-office working hours and using the vehicles more would reduce that revenue stream. If you are suggesting going to two (or three) work shifts, then you are making a much more complicated comparison, because they could go to two shifts now and reduce the number of vehicles they need by 50% or 66%... but then your mail would be delivered at 7pm or 1am rather than at 10am (for instance).

Engineer-Poet

I know at least 3 people who had little electric cars which had been built for the Postal service.  Lead-acid batteries, the whole 9 yards.  These were 70's vintage!  I'll bet all 3 are still running.

Most of this is going forward to where we've already been.  Doing V2G with the chargers would be the only major change.

HealthyBreeze

If I were doing V2G, I would want Nickle-Iron batteries for my short range EV. They would last for decades, and are so robust against cold temperatures that neither sleet, nor snow, nor...well you get the idea.

The Goracle

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Let UPS and FedEx deliver the mail. Save billions and become efficient at the same time.

And to think Obama wants a government run health care system that will operate as poorly as the Post Office. Yikes!!!

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ai_vin

"And to think Obama wants a government run health care system that will operate as poorly as the Post Office. Yikes!!!"

Where as you want a privately run healthcare system that will operate as well as ENRON.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHXXTCc-IVg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AazObF_pHSU

danm

Let UPS & FedX deliver the mail. No thanks. I have seldom had a package arrive on time with either. And, they just skim off the easy deliveries. The USPS still delivers to remote places that don't turn a quick profit.

HarveyD

Why not use e-mail + e-books + e-bills + e-magazines, e-tax returns, e-bank transfers, e-photos, e-music, e-movies, e-financial reports, e-xmas cards, e-greeting cards, e-ads, e-etc and let UPS, FedEx, DHL deliver parcels and then (by 2020?) do away with conventional Post Offices + all their vehicles + staff + buildings + deficits etc.

Use the liberate resources for health care and better education.

The Goracle

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ai_vin said: Where as you want a privately run healthcare system that will operate as well as ENRON.

Please quote where I have said this. Hint: You can't. You lied.

Obama has stated that his health care system will operate just like the Post Office vs. FedEx and/or UPS. What a disaster the Obama/Reid/Pelosi government health care system will be!

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Engineer-Poet

Ah, the troll objects when someone hurls hyperbole back at him.  The hypocrite can dish it out, but he can't take it.

ai_vin

Good to see somebody got my humour, but you know my hyperbolic statement wasn't that far off. A day after I posted it I saw Pfizer in the news again. Pfizer is the world's largest drug maker and for the fourth time in 10 years they've been caught in a fraud.

This time it's something called 'off labelling' but I've seen stories of bribery and dumping(selling expired drugs in third world countries) too, so like I said 'healthcare by ENRON.'

BTW- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8IeZHZRwC4

roy harpar

I always use USPS for shipping my pakcages. Their liteblue portal is awesome https://liteblueuspsgov.us

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