Business Leaders Call For Electrification Of USPS Delivery Vehicles

The Fleet Electrification Roadmap provides insight and analysis on the economics of electric vehicles for fleet operators and demonstrates targeted opportunities in which innovative models can help make electric-drive vehicles a compelling opportunity for U.S. businesses and government.

By focusing on these opportunities, fleet operators could drive much-needed scale production volumes in the U.S. battery industry, driving down costs to benefit the broader consumer market for electric vehicles.

The Electrification Coalition is dedicated to reducing America’s dependence on oil through the electrification of transportation. Its primary mission is to promote government action to facilitate deployment of electric vehicles on a mass scale. More than a dozen business leaders—including Carlos Ghosn, President & CEO of Nissan Motor Company; David W. Crane, President & CEO of NRG Energy; and Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President & CEO of FedEx Corporation—came together to form the Electrification Coalition. The Coalition serves as a dedicated rallying point for an array of electrification allies and works to disseminate informed, detailed policy research and analysis. It is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization committed to promoting the deployment of electric vehicles on a mass scale in order to combat the economic, environmental, and national security vulnerabilities caused the United States’ dependence on petroleum.

The Fleet Electrification Roadmap is a comprehensive analysis of the state of transportation electrification in the United States and the next steps needed to deliver on the potential of grid-enabled vehicles. The
report explores the opportunities and challenges facing electrification of commercial and government fleets, identifies economically attractive opportunities, and outlines a path to driving substantial fleet demand for
grid-enabled vehicles between 2010 and 2015.

Below is an excerpt from the 154-page (PDF) document:

Post Office

As of 2009, the United States Postal Service (USPS) had nearly 220,000 vehicles in operation. The vast majority of the vehicles—nearly 195,000—were light trucks.

According to a 2009 report by the USPS Office of the Inspector General, the average daily mail-delivery driving distance is 18 miles, making many of these vehicles well-suited for right-sized EV batteries or smaller PHEV batteries. Moreover, the average age and usage patterns high maintenance costs. Substituting EVs and PHEVs would result in sharply lower fuel costs in addition to offsetting high maintenance costs

The key issue for the USPS has been funding the upfront investment needed to acquire EVs and PHEVs.As a semi-private institution, the post-office has limited access to capital and may actually face additional, unique funding challenges. In 2009, the USPS faced a $7 billion funding shortfall. Of course, reducing fuel and maintenance costs could contribute to a stronger position over time, but access to capital today is still a key issue today.

From an economic standpoint, the IG report found that value was achievable in the right circumstances. Specifically, the report found that if “the upfront capital cost is overcome by participation in DOE-funded demonstration programs and V2G revenue is captured, the agency [breaks] even within the first 2 years that EVs are in operation.” The report goes on to state that “Funding specifically targeting Postal Service mail delivery vehicles would likely be necessary to create an economic environment that provides incentives for the Postal Service to move into a leadership position with EV technology.”

Given the size and purchasing power of the USPS,the federal government should offset the incremental upfront cost of EV and PHEV purchases by the post office for the period 2011-2014 through direct appropriations to the USPS. At the end of this 4 year period, the Inspector General should be required to produce an analysis of the program and make recommendations on the need for a possible second phase.

source: Electrification Coalition

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