A month ago Rep. Jose E. Serrano (D-NY) introduced a bill in the U.S. house of representatives that if passed would provide up to $2 billion to the United States Postal Service (USPS) for vehicle electrification. The money would be used to convert up to 15 percent of the agency's 142,000 vehicle fleet to plug-in capability.

Not satisfied Serrano's proposal, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA) has put together a bill that would require 75 percent of the USPS fleet or 109,500 units to be switched over to electric vehicles. The turnover would happen over a period of five years. The Serrano bill, H.R. 4399, would establish five pilot programs of 4,000 vehicles each.

The vehicles, which have a duty cycle heavily biased toward low speeds and stop and go operation, are ideally suited to electrification. Using EVs for postal delivery makes sense and would significantly reduce operating costs. The problem is USPS keeps vehicles for a long time with a slow turnover. In order for the post office to make any sort of move to electrification, it will need a lot extra cash from the government. USPS lost $4.69 billion in the first nine months of 2009 and has no funds to spare. The bill seems unlikely to pass given the pressure to cut spending as the federal deficit balloons.

A new website has been launched at Edrive.org where visitors can learn more about house bill H.R. 4399 with the aim of building support. The Connolly proposal can be read here.

[Source: Green Car Advisor, Edrive.org]

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