New Fed EX delivery van.

jkam

nomadic man
Looks nice, 4 wheel drive so would be a nice platform for a camper van.
 

86scotty

Explorer
Interesting. Surely better looking than those Amazon Rivian things that someone designed right after binge watching The Incredibles.
 

Todd n Natalie

OverCamper
Rivian, E-Transit, now this. Few options for companies out there now. I'm surprised Tesla hasn't come on board with this yet.

Seems like a large market. Has UPS, DHL, Purolator etc indicated if they are going with an electric fleet?
 

Charles R

Adventurer
Rivian, E-Transit, now this. Few options for companies out there now. I'm surprised Tesla hasn't come on board with this yet.

Seems like a large market. Has UPS, DHL, Purolator etc indicated if they are going with an electric fleet?
I work as a fleet mechanic for the USPS. What I will say is that fuel is the biggest cost of running any of these fleets, and all of us are searching and hoping for viable alternatives. But "final mile" vehicles operate WAY, WAY differently than the average passenger, or even most long haul cargo type, vehicles. It's a very high hurdle to jump.

But, as an example of just how open to innovative tech even the "stodgy government"/USPS can be... my local fleet has two "hydraulic" assisted hybrid 2-ton box vans.

These vehicles have a hydraulic pump connected to the driveshaft. During deceleration, the driveshaft turns the pump to pressurize a pressure storage tank. (Same idea as regenerative braking in electric vehicles, just all mechanical energy) When you accelerate, the high pressure fluid then drives the pump backwards, to assist in spinning the driveshaft up to driving speed. They're decent, but kind of high maintenance. I haven't seen the fuel and maintenance spending logs to determine if it's a 'net positive' or 'net negative' cost return though.
 
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onemanarmy

Explorer
I work as a fleet mechanic for the USPS. What I will say is that fuel is the biggest cost of running any of these fleets, and all of us are searching and hoping for viable alternatives. But "final mile" vehicles operate WAY, WAY differently than the average passenger, or even most long haul cargo type, vehicles. It's a very high hurdle to jump.

But, as an example of just how open to innovative tech even the "stodgy government"/USPS can be... my local fleet has two "hydraulic" assisted hybrid 2-ton box vans.

These vehicles have a hydraulic pump connected to the driveshaft. During deceleration, the driveshaft turns the pump to pressurize a pressure storage tank. (Same idea as regenerative braking in electric vehicles, just all mechanical energy) When you accelerate, the high pressure fluid then drives the pump backwards, to assist in spinning the driveshaft up to driving speed. They're decent, but kind of high maintenance. I haven't seen the fuel and maintenance spending logs to determine if it's a 'net positive' or 'net negative' cost return though.
Wh is it a high hurdle? They know the mileage these trucks drive every day, the routes, and they are all returning to a central spot every night for charging (once chargers are in place and the grid is capable). Range, route mapping, and charging can be even more optimized than a regular passenger car.
 

Charles R

Adventurer
It's not the miles, it's the driving styles. We've had some all electric vehicles in the past. They barely get about 25% of the range normal driving gets. Remember, for us, time is money. So we're not trying to hypermile these things. Also remember that these things will always be loaded to the gills with cargo when they leave the stations. Then, add 6-8 hours of running a heater/defroster in cold months, non-stop... Or air conditioning in hot months... And you REALLY start taxing the range.

Next... say you've calculated your average ranges properly. What happens during the heavy use periods, like Christmas? With a normal IC vehicle, you can just fill the tank and roll it out for a second route. An electric option is not as flexible. It's easy to say, just have spare vehicles. But that's not a cost effective option either. This also applies to a vehicle breakdown, where you need to get another vehicle to cover the second route.

So when I see that the above GM truck has "up to" a 250 mile range? I see a vehicle that might struggle to reach to 80 miles in regular cold weather use. And remember, that's a range that can't be extended with a quick fill up at the nearest local gas station.


I can give a somewhat specific, but pretty unrelated, example of how what works for the 90%, can struggle with last mile delivery use...
Dodge Promasters!
Decent vehicle...
We burn through a set of front tires about every 3000 miles. Faster than an oil service interval! I've talked to other delivery companies and they have the same issue.
Door hinges! They started failing within 3 months. Why? The average car door opens and closes 8-12 times a day. Ours are being worked 50-80 times a day. And let's face it, our employees are a bit rougher on their ride than the general owner.

Personally, I like electric. But I think they should focus on building this class of vehicle similarly to a locomotive. It should be electric drive. But with a steady state IC generator engine.
 
Interesting! My USPS, and UPS drivers tell me they have no A/C and thats in SW AZ(!) and in NH. All of them say the heater is really non-existent too. If they use no electric power when stopped and travel at low speed most of the time I would have thought their energy use would have been like a heavy loaded-then lightly loaded pickup or better. After all, the RAM promaster has a Dodge Caravan engine and transmission, hardly up to truck standards- not close to a locomotive.
 

onemanarmy

Explorer
BUt that is a POS promaster that you are abusing. Those things suck when they roll off the assembly line.

I would hope that GM, when designing a ground up, brand new DELIVERY van, had convos with FedEx. Do you need AC and heat in eveyr market? Around here in most of NC, you see the driver with the door open year round. How much cargo? So add capacity for that. With electrics, you can program in how fast it will begin to roll from a stop. That will help range. This isn't an off the shelf truck that is being retrofitted.

Then you have so much less wear and tear due to not having to restart the engine 100 times a day, and so many stops can be done with regen braking.

Its not a huge hurdle, someone just had to make a business case and find a buyer for fleets of them. We are about to that point.
 

Charles R

Adventurer
YouWOULD hope that's the case...

It all sounds easy and sensible on paper. But I've been in the vehicle service world for a long, long, time. I guarantee you, you're overestimating the logic they apply. I encourage the attempts, but I see major design/serviceability flaws far more often than you'd think from every manufacturer. I've seen the last 5 "finalists" for the postal fleet replacement. I was not surprised that every one of them failed to survive their first 6 month "on the job" testing run. (BTW, Workhorse, a company mentioned in the OP's news article, was also one of those finalists. It was all electric too.) Optimism is great. And like I said, I'm all for progress. But I'm also one of those "boots on the ground" and have lived to see what works in that real environment.

Think about it this way...
"Is it ever wise to buy the first year of a brand new model?"
Most savvy car buyers know there'll be teething pains and recalls, because EVERY manufacturer basically sends out beta versions to the public. Well this is the same thing, but with extreme use and a ton of money on the line.

Another thing for me is the charging. The article mentions they'll tap into the 500 charge points they have across the state. 500 in the whole state? I have one station alone in San Jose Ca with 110 LLV's. My total local area fleet has 2100 vehicles, and we're just covering Santa Clara and Monterey county. There's going to need to be some serious infrastructure upgrades to the post offices to handle the charging.

RDinNHand,
Most current/older generation delivery vehicles don't have AC. The USPS' main mail delivery vehicle is the GM based/ Grumman bodied LLV. Every one of them was built before 1994. VERY few of them have AC, and from what I've heard, the ones that do had it added in later. Back in the mid 80's/early 90's, air conditioning was still an optional, and fairly expensive option, for most vehicles. So VERY few of our fleet vehicles ever had AC. These days AC is a standard feature on practically every passenger vehicle, as well as most medium and heavy trucks. Some of that is because of the emissions verification process, where each engine package gets certified complete with all accessories. And having to develop different configurations is less cost effective with each generation. Our last generation Big Rig tractors, and our newest generations of 11-tons and 2-tons came with AC. There have also been some driver health problems that have arisen because of the lack of AC, including at least one recent death, so all the involved parties (unions) have been deciding if it's going to be an absolute requirement in the future.

So I've made my statements in this thread going with the assumption that all future vehicles will be required to have AC. But as of this moment, for our fleet, it's not required in the labor contract yet.

"Do you need AC/ heat in every market?"
Not at all. But I when you're buying a fleet, you have to assume your vehicles may be reallocated to different areas as needs change. So you typically buy one configuration that "fits all". My facility in the SF Bay Area got a new fleet of 11-ton box trucks for local use. Just like all the other areas that got trucks from this buy, ours came equipped with retractable snow chains. Completely useless in my area. But if they ever relocate to another area, they may be necessary.

(Honestly, as a fleet mechanic, AC is a royal pain. Again, the extreme use just seems to cause more faults. But like smog techs, AC techs need to be certified. Don't have a certified tech on staff? By law you now need to contract it out. Plus the machine and the refrigerant are added costs. And when it's hot, the drivers never think it's cooling enough, even when it's in spec because most cargo vehicles have little or no insulation. So now there's a vehicle out of service for the day, or more, while you chase a non existent problem. Etc. etc.)
 
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billiebob

Well-known member
I work as a fleet mechanic for the USPS. What I will say is that fuel is the biggest cost of running any of these fleets, and all of us are searching and hoping for viable alternatives. But "final mile" vehicles operate WAY, WAY differently than the average passenger, or even most long haul cargo type, vehicles. It's a very high hurdle to jump.

But, as an example of just how open to innovative tech even the "stodgy government"/USPS can be... my local fleet has two "hydraulic" assisted hybrid 2-ton box vans.

These vehicles have a hydraulic pump connected to the driveshaft. During deceleration, the driveshaft turns the pump to pressurize a pressure storage tank. (Same idea as regenerative braking in electric vehicles, just all mechanical energy) When you accelerate, the high pressure fluid then drives the pump backwards, to assist in spinning the driveshaft up to driving speed. They're decent, but kind of high maintenance. I haven't seen the fuel and maintenance spending logs to determine if it's a 'net positive' or 'net negative' cost return though.
I love this 80?? year old photo.....

UPS has been here before.
5a8daa02391d941a008b46c2.jpeg

5a8dc657391d9419008b473c.png

Until I saw these I never realized how old UPS is.
 
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