Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Royal Mail Trial Electric Car

The local postman delivering letters on his bike has been a been a staple of British life for years - but it could be all change thanks to the French.

An egg-shaped vehicle - with a top speed of just 25mph - is being trialled in two areas and could lead to a mass order by Royal Mail.

And in a move which could upset traditionalists but please saddle-sore postmen, the odd-looking buggies could put an end to the use of bicycles within the postal service.Students in Oxford have received their letters from postman Vytenis Baltrusaitis, 32, one of the first to drive the plug-in van.

'There is no power steering and the vehicle is quite slow but I don't usually go on busy roads on my route, so the round doesn't take any longer than it did before,' he said.

'Children wave at me in the street and some people even take pictures.

'The main thing is to remember to charge the vehicle when you get back to the delivery centre - you just plug it straight back in.'

The Matra has a range of 30 to 35 miles once it has been fully charged.

The vehicle is officially classed as a quadracycle, and like a motorbike is not legally required to display a front numberplate.

Mr Lightfoot estimated that the Matra would be about 35 per cent cheaper than a traditional diesel-engined van over the course of its lifetime and its load space of about 80 cubic feet matched the Vauxhall's.

He added that the electric vehicle cost the equivalent of a new hatchback car, compared with the £10,000 pounds cost of the Vauxhall Combo - but this did not take into account modifications including cab doors to cope with winter weather.
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