HARBOR CITY, CA, August 31, -/E-Wire/-- Listen. What you hear is the quiet of electric vehicles delivering the mail in Harbor City, CA, the first and only post office in the nation to have an all-electric delivery fleet. What you don't hear is the sound of gasoline-powered vehicles delivering the mail because they have all been replaced by environmentally clean electric-powered vehicles. The employees who drive these vehicles will make 250,000 pollution-free deliveries a month to the citizens of Harbor City.

Four years after becoming a national test site for electric-powered delivery vehicles, Harbor City is dedicating 12 new Electric Powered Interurban Commuter (EPICs) vehicles equipped for mail delivery and five traditional USPS delivery vans powered by electricity. The Postal Service's national manager of environmental programs, Dennis Baca, and Ray Levinson, who manages environmental programs for the Postal Service throughout California, will speak at the dedication. The program also will include Congressman Steve Kuykendall; David Freeman, General Manager Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP); and Mike Clement, Director of Marketing for DaimlerChrysler Corporation.

"This is one more step the Postal Service is taking to help the environment," said Baca. "Electric vehicles are the only vehicles available that meet California's strict definition of zero emissions. They are ideal for mail delivery in metropolitan areas where city carriers typically drive about 20 miles a day, well within the vehicle's 80-90 mile range. If this pilot proves successful, we are excited about the possibility of deploying electric vehicles elsewhere in California."

Harbor City has been using three electric-powered delivery vans under a 1995 test program. Under this expansion of the test, they will receive two additional electric vans - for a total of five -- and 12 EPIC Minivans, thus converting their entire fleet to electric power. The EPICs are manufactured by DaimlerChrysler and are based on the Dodge Caravan/Plymouth Voyager body style. "With a $60,000 grant from the Department of Energy and the expected two-thirds reduction in fuel and maintenance overhead, the actual cost to the Postal Service for these electric vehicles should be about the same or less than vehicles that run on gasoline," says Levinson. "As with our other environmental efforts, this will produce a benefit to the environment and to our bottom line."

The Postal Service, an award-winning national environmental leader, already has the nation's largest compressed natural gas delivery fleet with more than 7,500 vehicles converted, and it recently purchased 10,000 flexible fuel vehicles that can run on either gasoline or an ethanol fuel blend. By 2002 the Postal Service's fleet of alternate fuel vehicles is expected to reach 30,000. "I congratulate the Harbor City Post Office on its leadership example in clean transportation by being the nation's first post office with an all electric delivery fleet", said David Freeman Los Angeles Department of Water and Power general manager. "The Department of Water and Power is proud to partner with the Postal Service in our continuing effort to reduce air pollution through the use of clean-fueled vehicles."

Baca added, "Business leaders of this nation have a great responsibility to act wisely when it comes to the environment. Our commitment to alternative fuel vehicles demonstrates the Postal Service's leadership in helping to ensure cleaner air for our nation."

The dedication of these new electric vehicles will take place at 9:00 a.m. on September 2 at the rear of the Harbor City Post Office, 25690 Frampton Avenue, Harbor City, CA 90710-9998. Interviews and photo opportunities will be available, and test drives will be offered to the media immediately following the event.

SOURCE: United States Postal Service

George Marsh, USPS@ phone (323)-586-1213
page 310-650-5707
or Dan De Miglio,
USPS@ phone (415) 536-6490
page (888) 341-2709
or home (925)-427-7350