Drones, E-trikes and new-look vans as Royal Mail goes green in Edinburgh

Royal Mail is to trial two types of micro electric vehicles for delivering letters and small parcels in a move aimed at stepping up its drive to further reduce emissions.

By Stephen Wilkie
Monday, 20th September 2021, 4:45 pm

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The vehicles, roughly the size of a golf buggy or a quad bike, will be assessed in residential areas as a potential lower carbon alternative to larger vans.

They have been specially designed to help postal staff deliver letters and smaller parcels on their daily rounds.

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Royal Mail E-trikes will become a familiar sight in Edinburgh.

The six-month trial will see a selection of vehicles operating in Edinburgh, Crewe, Liverpool, Swindon and London.

Simon Thompson, chief executive officer at Royal Mail, said: “It’s really exciting to see these micro electric vehicles making their way into our daily deliveries.

“We’re committed to keep on reducing our environmental impact and we intend to leave no stone unturned in trialling new technologies and new ways of delivering to help us do that.

“As our fantastic posties make most deliveries on foot, this already means we have the lowest reported CO2e per parcel of major UK delivery companies.

Eco-friendly Royal Mail van a drone used to deliver Covid tests to the Isles of Scilly

“From drones to electric vehicles, fuel-efficient tyres to bio-CNG trucks, we’ll keep on innovating to reduce our environmental impact even further.”

The vehicles, which can accommodate more than an average daily round’s worth of letters and small parcels, are charged using a standard three-pin plug.

The introduction of the new vehicles is the not first time that Scotland has been the test bed for experimentation in mail delivery.

While under strict restrictions following the First World War, Germany was already looking to the future and into the development of rockets, which eventually led to the dreaded V1 and V2 ‘flying bombs’.

Will there be room for Jess the cat in this new-look, greener Royal Mail van?

However, there was a more peaceful intent when in July 1934 rocketeer Gerhard Zucker, who was obsessed with the concept of using rockets as means of carrying mail, found himself on the tiny Outer Hebridean island of Scarp which lies just off the Atlantic coastline of Harris.

Zucker made two unsuccessful attempts at firing rocket mail between Scarp and Harris and the evidence of his failure, in the form of a pile of singed envelopes from the exploded rocket, can still be seen at the island museum.

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