Royal Mail orders another 2,000 electric vans

Royal Mail has celebrated the deployment of its 3,000th electric van and confirmed an order for 2,000 more electric vehicles (EVs), with the first deliveries of the additional vans set to begin this month.

Royal Mail orders another 2,000 electric vans

Image: Royal Mail

Last summer, Royal Mail announced an ambition to add 3,000 more EVs to its fleet as soon as possible, up from around 300 EVs it was operating at the time.

The firm has now posted strong progress, celebrating the deployment of its 3,000th EV at its Peterborough Delivery Office. The hub has a fully electric fleet of 106 vehicles now, and is one of 70 Royal Mail locations to host EVs. Other locations with only electric fleets include Bristol.

Royal Mail also announced a new order for 2,000 electric vans and a new target to have 5,500 EVs in its fleet by spring 2023, given that the first deliveries of the additional vans will begin this month.

The additional order for 2,000 vans is split evenly between the Peugeot Partner and Peugeot Expert models.

Peugeot claims that the pure electric partner can travel up to 171 miles per charge, with a payload of up to 800 kilograms. It markets the model as ideal to replace diesel models of similar sizes. For the Expert, Peugeot boasts a range of up to 205 miles per charge and rapid charging capabilities. The Expert is the smaller of the two models.

“Environment is the next battleground for businesses, and we are determined to lead,” said Royal Mail Group’s chief executive Simon Thompson. “The transition to electric vehicles is a key part of our strategy to reduce our emissions whilst delivering a seven-day parcel service to our customers.”

Royal Mail is working towards an overarching climate goal of net-zero emissions across the value chain by 2040.

The firm previously said in a statement that, aside from the emissions reduction and clean air benefits of EVs, the vehicles “also increasingly make more economic sense than diesel vehicles in the long-term”. This is a reason increasingly given amid the energy price crisis, with wholesale petrol and diesel prices having climbed steeply in the first half of the year and reductions being slow to be passed on at the pump now.

Royal Mail is also exploring alternative fuels as well as EVs. In May 2021, it added 29 40-tonne biogas-powered trucks to its fleet. More innovative solutions, such as micromobility in cities and drones for remote areas, are also in the pipeline. The firm is aiming to convert its road fleets entirely to EVs and alternative fuels, phasing out petrol and diesel entirely, but has not set a target date.

Latest EV registration figures

In related news, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has published its latest data on car registrations, covering July.

The data confirms that, overall, new car registrations were down 9% year-on-year, despite a slight uptick in sales month-on-month. The SMMT highlighted how chip shortages are still impacting supply chains, and how the cost-of-living crisis is continuing to bite.

The decline was primarily led by a reduction in petrol and diesel sales, although plug-in hybrid sales also tanked by 34% year-on-year. Battery electric vehicle sales, however, were up by almost 10% year-on-year.

12,243 battery electric vehicles were registered in July 2022. This brings the number of these vehicles registered in 2022 so far to 127,492, compared to around 85,000 during the whole of 2021.

Commenting on the figures, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: ‘The automotive sector has had another tough month and is drawing on its fundamental resilience during a third consecutive challenging year as the squeeze on supply bedevils deliveries.

“While order books are strong, we need a healthy market to ensure the sector delivers the carbon savings government ambitions demand.

The next Prime Minister must create the conditions for economic growth, restore consumer confidence and support the transition to zero-emission mobility.”

Indeed, the next PM’s Ministers will have the job of updating the Government’s Net-Zero Strategy after the High Court deemed it unlawful.

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