Fleet News

Royal Mail puts fuel cells on trial

ROYAL Mail's fleet is continuing its pioneering strides into alternative fuels with a trial of the environmental and economic benefits of fuel cell technology. By the end of this year Royal Mail is planning to have taken delivery of five fuel-cell powered vans, fuelled by hydrogen, and only emitting water from the exhaust pipe.

Mike Horlor, the Royal Mail's head of road transport and strategy, says this 'too good to be true' option will be put through its paces against a 30,000-strong fleet already running both a dozen liquefied petroleum gas and a dozen compressed natural gas fuelled vehicles. He said: 'The plan is to take on these five vehicles by the end of the year, when they will be run as 'normal' delivery vehicles, probably in inner city areas where air quality sensitivity is at its highest.

Horlor says he is still negotiating with fuel cell manufacturer Zevco exactly when the vehicles will be delivered, at what price - it could be up to twice the price of a standard Ford Transit - and what type of vehicle they will be. The strongest likelihood is for a Transit sized vehicle. The fuel cell developer, Zevco, is the company which last year launched the world's first road going zero emission fuel cell car, a London taxi cab and only recently announced that it is desperately seeking funds to forward its programme of mass producing hydrogen fuel cells.

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