The one contract from the United States Postal Service (USPS) to start bringing electric trucks to the large national fleet of Long Life Vehicles (LLVs) that we knew about went to Zap. That contract was for a single truck, and it looks like Bright Automotive has been awarded a similar deal.

Bright announced today that the company's eSolutions team has gotten a contract to convert an LLV. Unlike Bright's Idea plug-in hybrid (PHEV, pictured), the LLV conversion will be a pure electric. Some of the technology from the Idea will make it into the LLV, though, specifically, the rear electric drive from the Idea's powertrain will be used. Once completed and delivered (target date: July 2010), the truck will be tested in the Washington, D.C. area for a year.

We've heard that five companies have received these conversion contracts from the USPS. The Bright press release, pasted after the jump, mentions that EDAG, Inc. also received one and Bright is working with EDAG on that project. Anyone know who the other two are?

[Source: Bright Automotive]

PRESS RELEASE

Bright Automotive to Apply Production Electric Drive Technology to Postal Service Zero Emissions Electric Delivery Vehicle
All Electric Postal Delivery Fleet Could Save Millions of Dollars per Year


ANDERSON, IN (March 5, 2010) – Bright Automotive announced today it has been awarded a contract by the United States Postal Service (USPS) to develop and test an electric postal delivery vehicle. Under the contract, Bright Automotive's eSolutions team will retrofit a standard USPS Long Life Vehicle (LLV) with its integrated electric drive train, and place the vehicle in real-world service for one year in the Washington DC area.

Distinguished from other award recipients, Bright Automotive's team is producing the IDEA, a purpose-built, lightweight, aerodynamic, all aluminum light commercial vehicle. Some of the same enabling technology developed on the IDEA will be directly applied to the EV propulsion conversion of the LLV. Applying the rear electric drive of the IDEA PHEV powertrain to the LLV positions Bright Automotive's conversion with proven production-intent technology.

"We are thrilled to be working with the USPS to demonstrate how systems thinking can achieve economic solutions that reduce the cost to own and operate the USPS fleet," said John E. Waters, CEO and President of Bright Automotive. "The adaptation of the electric drive system from our production vehicle uniquely distinguishes Bright Automotive's LLV conversion in terms of technology, durability and cost. In addition, our analysis and experience in vehicle electrification, vehicle ownership and financing, fleet maintenance, service, and infrastructure development, has shown that an electrified fleet will save the USPS millions of dollars annually, eliminate tons of emissions, and reduce dependence on oil."

The Bright eSolutions retrofit LLV is fully electric, uses no gasoline, and is capable of covering a high percentage of existing postal service routes. After delivery to the USPS in July 2010, the vehicle will go into service in the metro Washington DC area for at least one year. Bright eSolutions is also collaborating with a top Tier 1 automotive supplier, EDAG, Inc., another recipient of a USPS LLV conversion contract. Bright eSolutions is providing powertrain hardware and software support for two of the five contracts awarded under the program.

The USPS currently operates 142,000 LLVs, which average less than 20 miles of driving per day and have an average fuel economy of only 10 mpg.

Anderson, Indiana-based Bright Automotive is developing the first purpose-built light commercial plug-in hybrid electric vehicle for commercial and government fleets. The IDEA, scheduled for production in 2013, delivers a positive total cost of ownership to fleet customers by providing 5 to 10 times greater fuel efficiency than current fleet vehicles in its class. The IDEA operates in electric mode for 40 miles before switching to an estimated 36-mpg hybrid mode for 100+ mpg potential based on daily driving behavior. The IDEA is also an excellent choice for long-term replacement of the USPS LLV fleet, providing long life aluminum construction, improved functionality and ergonomics, larger payload and dramatic fuel efficiency improvement. Bright Automotive provides details on the IDEA at www.brightautomotive.com.

Bright Automotive is drawing on its team of seasoned automotive executives to provide technical expertise to customers through its Bright eSolutions division. Led by Nigel Francis, Bright eSolutions offers clients expert guidance and consulting on a variety of economic strategies in the field of HEV/PHEV/EV vehicle development, from EV powertrain integration and conversions, to aerodynamics and light weighting. Bright eSolutions – Expertise Delivered
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