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London deliveries go electric
Hana Loftus, 24 Dec 06
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In London, we've had electric milk floats seemingly forever, and a question on many of our lips for all this time has been, why only milk floats? Why can't other delivery vans go electric too?

Well, now TNT has decided to do a little trailblazing, by buying the world's first electric 7.5 tonne truck to use for its deliveries in the capital. The 'Newton' can go up to 50mph, with a range of 130 miles. And not only is it zero-emission on the road, but it has also been innovatively engineered, with all its body panels are made from a recyclable lightweight composite material to reduce body weight.

Electric vehicles are exempt from London's congestion charge and the national road tax, so there are actually significant cost savings to be made from making the switch even before counting in the much lower cost of electricity in comparison to diesel. Each vehicle will probably save around £6,000 per year on these running costs. Of course, they haven't committed to buying their electricity from renewable sources, but still, a step forward. The current vehicles are prototypes, but if successful, TNT will consider adding 200 more to its fleet, to serve in other urban locations in the UK. TNT's chief exec, Peter Bakker, announced TNT wanted “to be the cleanest, greenest express, mail and logistics company on the planet?.

Now, if only the Post Office would convert their vans...

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Comments

there is no reason for electric. an electric car produces the same amount of co2 as a gas powered one if you factor in the coal burned to generate the electricity. hybrid is much better, almost a factor of half.


Posted by: jon on 24 Dec 06

I guess they do it (first) for political reasons and (second) to move the pollution elsewhere. Coal plant may be located outside of London. But still, that's the thing about electric vehicles - you have to produce the energy somehow.


Posted by: Alexey Sorokin on 24 Dec 06

"there is no reason for electric. an electric car produces the same amount of co2 as a gas powered one if you factor in the coal burned to generate the electricity. hybrid is much better, almost a factor of half."

Actually you're incorrect. Getting power off the grid is always much more efficient then burning it in a very inefficient engine/power plant. The bigger the generator is the more efficient it will be, general engineering rule of thumb for combustion.


Posted by: Chris on 24 Dec 06

"I guess they do it (first) for political reasons and (second) to move the pollution elsewhere. Coal plant may be located outside of London. But still, that's the thing about electric vehicles - you have to produce the energy somehow."

Emissions are easier and cheaper to control from centralized sources rather then a billion cars worldwide.


Posted by: Chris on 24 Dec 06

SORRY FOR THE TRIPLE POST. This site needs an edit function!

http://www.celsias.com/blog/2006/12/21/the-electric-car-revisited/

The Hybrid Car is only a stepping stone to a post-oil future which will involve Fusion energy generation as well as Electric Vehicles. No telling when this will happen, but my guess is around the middle of this century it will be in full swing.


Posted by: Chris on 24 Dec 06

take a look at this http://www.ilea.org/lcas/taharaetal2001.html


Posted by: jon on 24 Dec 06

The article deliberately makes a worst case assumption for an EV. Such Cost/Benefit scenario's need to be done on the regional level not national level. In the Southwest for instance, going the route of a full EV economy will help the smog and haze problem considerably. Lots of abundant sunlight and coastline to provide ample renewable energy.

I still maintain that Plug-in Electric Drive Flexi-Fuel Hybrids(do those even exist yet?) are only a stepping stone towards a full EV market.


Posted by: Chris on 24 Dec 06

Merry Christmas!

Fleet buyers and others in the UK should look to farming for advanced warning of how UK taxation develops.

Sure electric vehicles are presently exempt from the many taxes that other road users pay. e.g. after tax diesel in the UK is nearly 1 pound per litre. That's over $7 per US gallon! So electric vehicles make sense because govt make them make sense. But govt needs taxes, so once the change has been made the taxes will be back, probably as tolls for road use (with pedal cycles exempt?).

Just as there's no great benefit to UK farmers in changing to organic now, but nothing to be gained from changing back either. Has the US gone organic yet?

The real benefit of this is likely to be in increased investment in the technology, but that won't be coming direct from govt, only through this temporary indirect tax relief.


Posted by: Michael Saunby on 25 Dec 06

The French postal system (La Poste) is going electric in a big way. I discussed this at: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/12/24/4130/6630 just yesterday.


Posted by: A Siegel on 25 Dec 06

"Emissions are easier and cheaper to control from centralized sources rather then a billion cars worldwide."

I guess this is true.

BTW, can somebody give a link to thorough comparison of what is more energy efficient: continuing business as usual with gas OR switching to EV with changing infrastrucure, making a zillion of new cars and so on? Will it really be more green to switch?


Posted by: Alexey Sorokin on 25 Dec 06

Hey,
Thanks for interesting comments, and for the link, A Siegel.

I think we are definitely all aware that the source of electricity used for EVs needs to go renewable too, but having said this, they are still more efficient, pound on pound, than petrol/diesel powered cars. And the asthma problems in our inner cities provide a good reason to switch, too.


Posted by: Hana on 26 Dec 06



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