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Bright Automotive Receives Contract for Electric Postal Delivery Vehicle

Bright Automotive, the developer of the purpose-built, plug-in hybrid IDEA (earlier post), has been awarded one of five contracts by the United States Postal Service (USPS) to develop and test an electric postal delivery vehicle. Under the contract, Bright Automotive’s eSolutions team (earlier post) will retrofit a standard USPS Long Life Vehicle (LLV) with an integrated electric drive train, and place the vehicle in real-world service for one year in the Washington DC area.

Other awards have gone to ZAP (earlier post); Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc. (earlier post); AC Propulsion and AutoPort (earlier post); and Germany-based international transportation engineering firm EDAG, with whom Bright eSolutions is also collaborating. Thus, Bright eSolutions is providing powertrain hardware and software support for two of the five contracts awarded under the program.

Some of the same enabling technology developed on the IDEA will be directly applied to the EV propulsion conversion of the LLV. As an example, Bright said, applying the rear electric drive of the IDEA PHEV powertrain to the LLV positions Bright Automotive’s conversion with proven production-intent technology.

The Bright eSolutions retrofit LLV is fully electric and is capable of covering a high percentage of existing postal service routes. After delivery to the USPS in July 2010, the vehicle will go into service in the metro Washington DC area for at least one year.

The USPS currently operates 142,000 LLVs, which average less than 20 miles of driving per day and have an average fuel economy of only 10 mpg.

The IDEA, Bright noted, is now scheduled for production in 2013. At the reveal of the IDEA in April 2009, Bright had said that high volume production of the IDEA would begin in the US by the end of 2012, with an annual run rate of 50,000 units beginning in 2013.

Comments

SJC

This is a great idea, maybe with fuel savings, fewer delivery days and increased bulk rates, the USPS could actually make a profit. Imagine all the good paying jobs this would create retrofitting the vehicles, a good idea all the way around.

JMartin

SJC,
This is a great idea, but it is unlikely to help USPS make a profit. Print and mail are shrinking. Just as newspapers are failing, USPS has to face a shrinking demand for many years. A difficulty environment to make a profit.

SJC

It is a similar plight with newspapers, but good management can..well..manage. That is what they are suppose to do and we should all expect them to do it, not just layoff people and give themselves bonuses.

ToppaTom

Doesn't it matter how much each retrofit costs?

SJC

Good point TT, the retrofits may take decades to pay back at current fuel prices. Scrap the vehicle and save the retrofit for another one. 140,000 vehicles is a lot to retrofit, even at $10,000 per (optimistic) that would be $1.4B or more. But the cleaner air, quiet operation and less imported oil are factors too. Vehicles lasting longer with less repair goes into the accounting as well.

ToppaTom

Yes, cleaner air, quiet operation, less imported oil, vehicle life and repair costs should be (and obviously are) BIG factors.

But there is every reason to believe cost is no object in these programs.

HarveyD

Cost is not everything in life. We also need 1000+ other things such as clean air, clean water, healthy food, good education and health care for everybody etc.

Better healthier food, even if it cost more, will be a must very soon if we want to manitain a healty leaner body, free of heart conditions, diebetes, cancers etc etc. Cheaper junk food is not the answer nor are cheaper ICE polluting vehciles.

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