Royal Mail is conducting its first ever trial of zero-emission e-Trikes for letter and parcel deliveries later this month. The trial is an example of the Company’s efforts to continue to reduce CO2 emissions associated with its operations.
The 1200mm wide x 1968mm high e-Trikes - which are predominantly powered by a combination of pedal, solar, battery and brake technology - are specially designed to help postmen and women to deliver letters and parcels in a secure and environmentally-friendly way.
The trial is scheduled to begin in late March. It will take place in Stratford (East London), Cambridge and Sutton Coldfield, and will last for approximately six months. Once the trial period has ended, Royal Mail will make a decision on whether to expand the trikes more widely across the UK.
The trikes are able to accommodate letters, cards and the majority of parcels, and are designed for use on roads, highways and some cycle paths. Deliveries on the e-Trikes will operate as part of a usual delivery pattern on suitable routes.
For larger parcels and deliveries at particularly busy periods, special delivery arrangements will be made, as they for current methods.
Pedals assisted by a 250W electric motor power the e-Trikes. The motor itself is operated by a 48V lithium battery, which is recharged by mains power and supplemented by two solar panels positioned on top of the vehicle. Regenerative braking also helps to power the trike.
A responsible Company
With the UK's largest "Feet on the Street" network of 90.000 postmen and women, Royal Mail already plays a key role in keeping carbon emissions low.
David Gold, Director of Public Affairs & Policy at Royal Mail said: “As a Company, we are committed to making changes to our operations which reduce our environmental impact, whilst ensuring we continue to meet customer expectations. Alongside our ongoing transformation program and the introduction of electric vans in locations across our business, this trial is part of a programme of initiatives across our business that will ensure we can continue to deliver letters and parcels safely, efficiently and responsibly.”
Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said: “I’m delighted that Royal Mail is trialling e-trikes which will take polluting vehicles off our streets - helping to reduce congestion and clean up London’s toxic air. I hope this trial will be extended and other delivery companies follow Royal Mail’s lead so that many more communities can benefit.”
A history of Royal Mail transportation
- This year marks over 120 years since Royal Mail first experimented with using motorised vehicles to deliver the mail.
- Prior to the introduction of the General Post Office mail coach service, the mail was chiefly delivered by horse and cart or foot.
- John Palmer of Bath’s mail coach service proposal was approved in 1784, and enabled the rapid expansion of the General Post Office throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
- Experiments with motorised transport for carrying mail began in 1897 when discussions started around whether it was best to use steam, electric or ‘oil driven’ motors. Each type of engine was tested and in 1904 a second-hand Wallis & Steevens traction engine was purchased - Royal Mail’s first motorised vehicle.
- The traction engine was a self-propelled steam engine that was primarily used to move heavy loads on roads, plough ground or to provide power.
- Three years later, the first motor vehicle entered service. It was a two and a half tonne lorry called the Maudslay Stores Number 1, which was in operation for 18 years.
- Today, Royal Mail operates the largest fleet in the country – more than 47,000 vehicles – from small vans for daily mail deliveries to double deck articulated lorries.
- Royal Mail plans to expand its fleet of 100 electric vans through its participation in the recently announced Optimise Prime project.