Royal Mail is to trial nine electric powered commercial vehicles starting later this month in partnership with Arrival.
The postal operator will begin the trials, based at Mount Pleasant Mail Centre in London, with three 6-tonne trucks from August, followed by three 3.5-tonne vehicles and another three 7.5-tonne trucks later in 2017. The centre has already been fitted with charging stations.
The vehicles will be used to transport mail between mail distribution centres in London and the South-east.
The co-branded red Royal Mail electric vehicles are the first trial vehicles to be produced at Arrival’s new factory in Banbury.
Royal Mail Fleet managing director Paul Gatti said: “Royal Mail is delighted to be collaborating with Arrival and pioneering the adoption of large electric commercial vehicles.
“We are pleased to be the first fleet operator to take delivery of and trial these new larger payload vehicles which will complement the 100 electric vans we recently ordered. 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.
“Royal Mail is trialling a variety of vehicles to see which work best for us and are keen to share our experience with other fleet operators who may be considering introducing electric vehicles. We have trialled electric trucks before but not of this type of design and look forward to see what additional benefits they can bring to our existing fleet of around 49,000 vehicles.”
Arrival CEO Denis Sverdlov 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."
Arrival said its electric vehicles beat conventional commercial vehicles on price, design and capability and will help to reduce the pollution and noise in central London producing zero emissions for the first 100 miles they travel. The vehicles will also comply with the Mayor of London’s Direct Vision Standard for lorries in the city.