The United States Postal Service (USPS) has awarded electric vehicle provider ZAP an engineering contract for the design and development of an electric version of its Long Life Vehicle (LLV).
ZAP will convert the gasoline mail truck to run on electricity as specified by the USPS at facilities in Santa Rosa, California. Following completion the converted vehicle will undergo field trials in the Washington, DC metropolitan area later this year. ZAP was selected along with four other firms in a competitive bid process held nationwide by the USPS. Quantum and a partnership between AC Propulsion and AutoPort have also been selected. (Earlier post.)
The USPS operates a fleet of approximately 142,000 LLVs as part of the largest civilian fleet in the world, according to USPS sources, with 218,684 vehicles traveling more than 1.25 billion miles each year. The USPS fleet consumed 444 million gallons of fuel in 2009, costing roughly $1.1 billion. Agency vehicles average 10.4 miles per gallon since most drive slowly and make frequent stops with the engine idling between mailboxes.
Rep. Jose E. Serrano (D-New York) has introduced legislation calling for at least 20,000 electric vehicles to be put into service with the USPS to reduce fuel consumption. Rep. Serrano also called for the allocation of $1.86 billion to the Energy Department and Postal Service to convert current mail trucks or manufacture new ones. H.R. 4399, entitled the American Electric Vehicle Manufacturing Act, has been referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.