Canada Post has unveiled its first depot using battery-electric delivery vehicles and it’s in Nanaimo.
The company will use 14 fully electric cargo vans for collection and delivery services, replacing internal combustion vehicles.
For the past two weeks, Canada Post workers in Nanaimo have been the first in Canada to deliver the mail in battery-electric vans.
“It handles really well. It’s just incredibly quiet,” said Bob Freeman, a mail carrier and president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers Local 786.
Canada Post’s top executives were in Nanaimo Thursday to announce the depot’s 12 corporate vans are now electric, the first in a rollout across the country as the company drives towards net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
“With 14,000 vehicles in total, you can understand why it’s so important to make the shift from gas to electric. Our delivery vehicles drove almost 105 million kilometres in 2021. That’s the equivalent of encircling the globe more than 2,500 times,” said Doug Ettinger, Canada Post’s president and CEO.
As for why the transition is happening in Nanaimo first, Canada Post says it’s in part because of B.C.’s cleaner hydro-electricity source as the depot’s ownership.
“The depot is a Canada Post-owned facility so that makes it easier for us to build the infrastructure for the charging stations. The third point is looking at the actual routes that are delivering out of Nanaimo. The routes don’t do more than 50 kilometres per day and so that was a number we targeted because the vehicles themselves have a certain range-life,” said Sally Dam, Canada Post’s director of urban delivery strategy.
And they want the vehicles to be able to service the routes daily. Canada Post says Vancouver Island’s warmer climate also aids with electric range.
Nanaimo’s acting mayor says she fully supports the move to electric though she has concerns.
“I’m hoping that as we move forward to electrification in Canada that our minerals are coming from places where they’re being environmentally and ethically sourced,” said Sheryl Armstrong
Canada Post says it purchased the vehicles for their needed specifications and it doesn’t know where the batteries were sourced.
Canada Post plans to electrify its entire fleet by 2040 and with a focus on B.C. and Quebec first, and it’s already looking at other Vancouver Island depots for fleet electrification.