The Japan Post Service Co. hopes to green up its mail service with the addition of 1,000 Fuji Heavy minivehicles converted over to electric drive. The vehicles come packed with a lithium-ion batteries and the usual host of motors and high-tech controllers found in electric vehicles (EVs). The Japan Post will utilize the battery-powered vehicles for mail collection and delivery.
Custom autoparts start-up Zerosports Co. will handle the conversion process and hopes to delivers the finished product to the postal service next fiscal year. Zerosports claims that the delivery van will have a 62-mile range and can be recharged in eight hours. The Japanese newspaper Nikkei reports that Zerosports was chosen over major automakers because of the company's ability to undercut the competition's price by as much as 30 percent:
Japan Post has been testing electric vehicles from Zerosports, Mitsubishi Motors Corp., Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. and others since 2009 to evaluate their cost and performance. The Japan Post Holdings Co. unit replaces about 3,000 of its delivery and other vehicles every year. It has decided to make one-third of the annual replacements electric vehicles. Gifu Prefecture-based Zerosports is expected to get almost all of the unit's electric vehicle orders for fiscal 2011, which ends in March 2012.
Despite stiff competition from major automakers, Zerosports has shown that a small start-up company can occasionally secure bids to produce vehicles by undercutting the prices of some formidable opponents.

[Source: Nikkei – sub. req. via Green Car Congress | Image: Angie – C.C. License 2.0]


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