Nanaimo’s Canada Post depot is the first in the country to have an all-electric corporate delivery fleet.
The Crown corporation held a press conference Thursday, March 9, at the East Wellington Road depot, announcing that the depot will utilize 14 fully electric Ford cargo vans for collection and delivery. Canada Post is calling Nanaimo a “test location” for the all-electric “last-mile” delivery.
“This is an important first step,” said Doug Ettinger, Canada Post president and CEO. “I think the employees here are really excited. It’s only 14 electric vehicles here, but it’s 14 that we’re going to learn from. We’re going to figure out how best to charge them, how much energy they use on the local utility, how they perform. We think they’re going to perform even better than the current vehicles.”
In addition to B.C., electric vehicles will be rolled out in Quebec shortly. Ettinger said provinces with “clean electricity grids” are being targeted initially.
Total costs for vehicles and infrastructure were not available, but the CEO said the vehicles are “well over $100,000” each.
Sally Dam, Canada Post director of urban delivery strategies, said the cargo vans meet the needs of postal workers.
“We actually looked for a vehicle that had enough range for what our delivery agents are actually consuming in a day … it’s got a 68-kilowatt hour battery,” said Dam.” Its published range is about 190 kilometres on that 68-kilowatt hour battery, so for our delivery agents, typically a route of no more than 50 kilometres a day. So there’s more than sufficient range available on these vehicles.”
Level 2 charge stations will allow the vehicles to run, according to Dam, with one station having the ability to charge two vehicles at “medium speed.”
“These are typical charging stations that you would find at your home … the ones that we have here are 19.2 kilowatts, and they’re shared among the two ports. But each one can deliver a power output of 9.6. So based on that 9.6 kilowatt power output, we can charge the vehicle from zero to 100 in about eight hours,” said Dam.
Lessons learned in Nanaimo will benefit Canada Post outlets across the country, according to Ettinger and Dam.
“We’re going to be using the details to test out some of those different types of scenarios of how we’re going to operate our electric fleet,” Dam said. “So determining if we are going to need to charge them on a nightly basis, how much energy are they going to be consuming on a daily basis, a lot of these data points are going to inform us of how we’re going to move forward to all of our other sites.”
Ettinger said workers will be covering the same routes as previously.
“Just instead of a gas vehicle, it’s an electric vehicle, quieter in the neighbourhood, smooth ride and it’ll be great for the drivers in particular,” said Ettinger.
He said Canada Post has plans to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, with a commitment to electrifying half its national fleet of approximately 14,000 vehicles by 2030 and the entire fleet by 2040.
Sheryl Armstrong, City of Nanaimo councillor, is in favour of electrifying vehicles, but said ethical issues arise when it comes to how some of the materials were procured, particularly from Congo or Chile.
“I think it’s a very good move … I’m hoping that as we move forward to electrification in Canada that we’re ensuring that our minerals are coming from places where they’re being environmentally and ethically sourced,” said Armstrong.