The aim of the project is to demonstrate the technical and economic viability of the use of electric vehicles (EV's) in the regular operation of the postal service in different EU Member States. A number of innovative and advanced battery technologies (among others the high-performance zinc-air battery) will be tested under different operating and climatic conditions and compared both on a technical and an economic basis in order to achieve a better understanding of the strong and the weak points of the batteries and to obtain a comprehensive technological picture at European level. The extremely hard cycles of postal operation are an ideal reference for the viability of the EV's in other uses, in particular those of fleet operators : if an EV works in the stop-and-go operation of the post, it will work everywhere.
In this project, a total of over 50 EV's will be operated over a period of 2 years in the day-to-day service of the postal organisations of Germany, Sweden, Finland, France, Belgium and the UK. In these countries, environmental legislation concerning the transport sector is getting more and more severe and thus forces operators of large fleets to develop innovative technologies cutting down seriously on vehicles' emissions. As this applies in particular to urban transport systems, the present project puts an emphasis on the postal operation in cities. The cities chosen as sites for the EV demonstration are offering a strong support to the introduction of zero-emission technologies, especially through the provision of the infrastructure necessary to operate the vehicles, as is shown in particular by the participation of the city of Turku, Finland, as an official partner in the project.
The European dimension is the essential element of this project. Therefore, the contribution of each of the proposers will be needed for the technical and economic comparison of the batteries. CITELEC, the European association of cities intersted in electric vehicles, will be responsible for the on-site evaluation of the different parts of the project, and will serve as an efficient communication channel in the dissemination of the project results. The European "added value" of the project is enhanced by the participation of the postal organisations of Ireland, Spain and Portugal, who have expressed a strong interest in the introduction of EV's, as observers without financial contribution. Moreover, the project partners have agreed to maintain an informal cooperation with the Targeted Projects in the transport sector of Thermie, notably those focusing on vehicle technology.
The innovation of this project lies in the demonstration of advanced and new battery technologies in light and medium duty delivery vehicles, reducing local emissions to zero.