Royal Mail is trialling two new kinds of micro electric vehicles for small parcel and letter deliveries. The trial comes as the number of parcels being delivered is rising – as shoppers buy more of their retail purchases online. ONS figures out last week suggest that 27.7% of retail sales took place online in August – up from 19.7% in pre-pandemic February 2020.
The business says the new vehicles were specifically designed to help postal workers deliver smaller items on their daily round. The vehicles will initially operate in Edinburgh, Crewe, Liverpool, Swindon and London before a decision for the longer-term is made.
Royal Mail says it already has low CO2 emissions, thanks to its large network of postal workers who walk many delivery rounds. But it is now trialling micro-vehicles, which have zero tailpipe emissions, to see if they can provide an alternative to vans. Vans are typically shared by two posties. The trial comes at a time when more parcels are now being delivered. Two options are being trialled: a 2.4m long Paxster Cargo with an 88 mile battery range, and a 3m long Ligier Pulse 4 with a 74 miles batter range. Each can carry more than the average daily round’s load of letters and small parcels and Royal Mail says they may provide a more environmentally friendly and flexible alternative to vans.
Simon Thompson, chief executive of Royal Mail, says: “It’s really exciting to see these micro electric vehicles making their way into our daily deliveries. At Royal Mail we’re committed to keep on reducing our environmental impact and we intend to leave no stone unturned in trialling new technologies and new ways of delivering to help us do that. As our fantastic posties make most deliveries on-foot, this already means we have the lowest reported CO2e per parcel of major UK delivery companies. From drones to electric vehicles, fuel efficient tyres to bio-CNG trucks, we’ll keep on innovating to reduce our environmental impact even further.”