The United States Postal Service (USPS) unveiled a parallel hybrid-electric mail delivery van in Boston, Massachusetts, on May 16. One hundred industry representatives, environmentalists, and USPS employees attended a ceremony held at the Boston General Mail Facility to mark the Postal Service’s first conversion of one of its vans into a hybrid vehicle.

Fuel economy improvement for the hybrid-electric mail delivery van is estimated to be 30-50 percent.

Fuel economy improvement for the hybrid-electric mail delivery van is estimated to be 30–50 percent. Credit: USPS

“As an agency that delivers mail to 145 million businesses and households six days a week, drives approximately 1.1 billion miles a year, and consumes more than 125 million gallons of motor fuel annually, we are in a unique position to demonstrate to the public and other businesses the growing viability and positive environmental and energy-savings benefits of alternate fuel technologies,” said USPS Vice President of Engineering Walter O’Tormey.

The van was converted by Azure Dynamics Inc., a company that specializes in developing electric and hybrid-electric powertrain systems. As it delivers mail in the Boston area, the vehicle will be monitored to determine its potential for emissions reduction and fuel-economy improvements.

“We expect hybrid delivery trucks to significantly improve our nation’s fuel economy and reduce our reliance on foreign oil,” said O’Tormey. “That’s why this innovation is so important to us and why we want to share our experiences with the public.”

In addition to its new hybrid, USPS currently has 30,000 alternative fuel vehicles that operate on compressed natural gas, propane, ethanol, and biodiesel.




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