Royal Mail, the UK’s premier postal and parcel service, is to trial the use of nine fully-electric trucks weighing up to 7.5 tonnes from its Mount Pleasant Mail Centre in London, under a partnership with the Banbury-based electric vehicle manufacturer Arrival.
The company started a trial on 23 August using three versions of the vehicle to transport packages between its mail and distribution centres around London.
Paul Gatti, Royal Mail Fleet’s Managing Director, said that a successful trial could lead to a broader adoption of the technology in the company’s fleet of almost 50,000 vehicles: “Royal Mail is delighted to be collaborating with Arrival and pioneering the adoption of large and small electric commercial vehicles. We will be putting them through their paces over the next several months to see how they cope with the mail collection demands from our larger sites. We have trialled electric trucks before but not of this type of innovative design and look forward to see what additional benefits they can bring to our existing fleet of around 49,000 vehicles.”
Denis Sverdlov, chief executive of Arrival, said: “We are thrilled to partner with Royal Mail using our electric vehicles. Cities like London will benefit hugely from a switch to electric, in terms of both pollution and noise. Most importantly we are priced the same as diesel trucks removing the main barrier to go electric.”
This news comes just weeks after Royal Mail signed an agreement with Peugeot to purchase 100 Partner Electric vans for use on delivery rounds.
Arrival, formerly known as Charge Automotive, built the trucks at their new 110,000 sq ft factory in Oxfordshire.
Arrival has claimed that the trucks are built using a “revolutionary ultra-lightweight composite materials that significantly reduce the weight of the vehicle and by combining this technology with Arrival’s custom built hardware, including power electronics and motors, the cost of operating has been reduced by more than 50%.”
It said that they optimised the maximum range to weight ratio for inner city deliveries with battery packs enabling up to 100 miles of range on 3.5, 6 and 7.5 tonne trucks.
Arrival is also pursuing autonomous driving technology and claims that Royal Mail’s new trucks are ‘autonomous-ready’.