The nature of Royal Mail’s activities has changed massively in recent years and is expected to continue shifting with a 4% annual increase in parcel deliveries and a 3% drop in good ol’ letters. Actually, those figures surprised us, sounding lower than we reckoned, but it’s fair to say that many people these days arrive home to find parcels, red ‘Something for you’ cards and very few letters on their doormats.
Anyone who earnt pocket money as a paperboy (or girl) when they were at school will know how back-breaking the job is at the weekend with all those Sunday supplements, so the postmen and women of today deserve our sympathy having to lug all our Gumtree bargains around. Forget pushbikes – compact vans (‘LCVs’) are the order of the day, commonly seen badly parked up kerbs and on street corners while their drivers shuffle off to offload all the boxes and mailer bags that were stacked up in the rear cargo area.
It’s still very much a case of ‘horses for courses’ with electric, hybrid and other alternatively-fuelled vehicles (‘AFV’), with all-electric vans definitely not suited to nationwide couriers who zip up and down the UK on a regular basis. For parcel delivery activities from the likes of the Royal Mail, electric vans are perfect, though – especially in urban areas where people are more conscious of air and also noise pollution.
Royal Mail has just signed an agreement with Peugeot for a fleet of one hundred zero-emission Peugeot Partner L2 electric vans, which will go into service from December, just in time for the Christmas surge. This ZE van model was launched earlier this year and its load floor isn’t compromised in comparison to its diesel and petrol Peugeot van siblings thanks to the 22.5kWh lithium-ion battery pack being positioned under the floor. The power and torque produced are more than adequate for carting online shopping around and the Peugeot van has a range of upto 106 miles. Even with the realisation that real-life electric vehicle ranges usually end up being lower, it still makes the French electric van perfect for local courier work, even if it’s not suitable for Royal Mail employees covering wider patches in the Hebrides or Cornwall, for example.
Between now and Crimbo, Royal Mail will be upgrading the infrastructure at its locations that will be welcoming the new Peugeot Partner L2 Electric vans, installing dedicated rapid charge points capable of charging the battery back to 80% capacity in half an hour. Regenerative braking also tops more power into the battery when the van slows down.
Peugeot Partner L2 Electric van retail and contract hire/leasing customers including fleets are generally eligible for the government’s Plug-in Van Grant (PiVG), which reduces the cost by 20%. Additionally, London adopters can benefit from the Ultra-Low Emission Discount (ULED) meaning London Congestion Charge exemption, effectively reducing annual motoring costs by almost £3,000. Electric cars and vans also do wonders for reducing organisations’ carbon footprints, too, in line with their CSR policies.
If you’re keen to explore the benefits of introducing one or more electric light commercial vehicles to your sole trader, SME or larger business fleet, our leasing and contract hire consultants will be happy to provide advice.