Mail me a cab!

We are trialling a new electric taxi van for parcel and letter deliveries

Royal Mail is partnering with London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) to trial its new VN5 prototype electric van – based on a typical London taxi cab – for parcel and letter deliveries later this month.

The 2.9 tonne small van has a similar load capacity to a typical Royal Mail van and is designed to operate at lengthy distances on a stop and start basis, comparable to a typical postal round.

During the six-month trial period, which has been endorsed by CWU, the vehicle will be used in selected urban locations serviced by delivery offices in Birmingham, Derby, Leeds, Edinburgh, and Bristol (all of which already have electric vehicles and charging points) to assess its durability as well as its suitability for the business. The trial begins this week in Hockley, near Birmingham.

The van

The TX conversion is able to accommodate letters, cards and parcels of all sizes, and is designed for use on roads and highways. Deliveries during the trial will operate as part of a usual delivery pattern on suitable routes.

Branded in our corporate red livery by LEVC, the van also has a touch of green to denote its environment-friendly status – it’s a zero-emission electric vehicle that is said to offer a range of 63 miles (102 km) as per Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) standards.

If introduced more widely, the cabs will complement our pre-existing fleet of 295 electric vans. The cab’s range extender – which offers a total flexible range of 301 miles (485km) – would enable emission-free deliveries to more remote locations, and on longer routes than a typical electric van.

LEVC is trialling the TX-based prototype vehicle with 25 company partners across various sectors, ahead of the official launch of its new VN5 electric van later this year.

As part of our five-year environment strategy, we are committed to adopting existing and new technologies to help us reduce emissions associated with our operations. With our fleet of circa 48,500 vehicles being one of the largest in the UK, a key focus of our strategy is to test the suitability of alternative vehicles and fuels that achieve low or even zero emissions.

Fleet director, Paul Gatti, said: ‘Alongside the introduction of electric vans in locations across our business, this trial is part of a programme of initiatives that allow us to experiment with ways to reduce our environmental impact, while enabling us to continue to deliver letters and parcels safely, efficiently and responsibly.’

LEVC CEO, Joerg Hofmann, added:‘Royal Mail is one of the oldest postal services in the world and, like our London black cab, is part of British history and culture. It is great that these two iconic brands are joining forces for this trial.

‘The VN5 prototypes will be used on routes that will test the vehicles ability to the full. These trials are crucial to the final development of the van, ahead of its launch later this year.’

7 Jul 2020