Australian Post begins trialling green vehicles

You may not yet see a green vehicle on every street corner, but one could soon be coming down your street on a regular basis.

Renault Australia has provided four electric-powered vans to Australia Post in a trial that hopes to see green vehicles reduce costs for the small fleet.

The French manufacturer's Kangoo Z.E. parcel vans are being tested out in Sydney and Melbourne to test the impact they can have on reducing fleet running costs and environmental impact.

While the vehicles are not yet sold in Australia, the initiative raises some key points on how green fleet cars may find their way into our everyday lives. Renault Australia's electric vehicle specialist Elena Woods said although concerns remain over the ability to recharge the cars in domestic use, electric vehicles are ideal for fleets.

"Because postal deliveries are a back-to-base operation, the users know exactly how far they need to travel. If that figure is less than the range on the Kangoo, there's no need for range-anxiety," she explained to

Fleet manager considerations

The news website reported that the Kangoo Z.E. takes 6-9 hours to recharge, at the cost of only $5, after which it has around a 160 kilometre range.

Australia Post has put itself at the front of energy-efficient fleet services in recent times, with 100 hybrid vehicles and 25 hybrid trucks in use and reducing carbon emissions by 30 and 20 per cent respectively. The initiative, it said, saved around 820 tonnes of carbon in 2012.

Head of Environmental Sustainability at Australia Post Andrew Sellick said the electric Kangoo program should see a reduction of the fleet's energy costs by "at least 50 per cent" to accompany the 100 per cent carbon reduction - with more to come if the trial goes well.

"While at this stage we are working with Renault to prove this concept, if the vans perform well across the range of metrics we'll be measuring them on, the future potential is very exciting," Mr Sellick explained.

"We hope this initiative will ultimately help drive the commercialisation and acceptance of electric vehicles in this country."