Sustainable Fleet Operations in the Postal Sector
34 Pages Posted: 10 May 2010 Last revised: 8 Jul 2012
Date Written: March 10, 2011
Fleet optimization for postal operators (POs) is an important effort towards sustainable transportation in several ways. First, of course, is its direct economic impact through investment, amortization and operating costs. Second, is its impact on the carbon footprint of the PO. While the evaluation of alternative fleet traction systems (e.g., fossil-fuel, hybrid and electric) is in many respects a relatively straightforward financial investment problem, there are additional complexities that make this problem an interesting research problem for sustainable energy. These include the uncertainties in market prices for various sources of energy, including emission credits for carbon leveraging of investments; the problem of infrastructure and support for new technologies; the intangible/reputation benefits of sustainable energy investments for POs; the problem of new technologies and learning effects and, finally; the nature of strategic partnerships and risk sharing that may be needed to achieve the requisite scale of operations to make low-carbon vehicles a feasible alternative for major fleet operators and for the automotive industry. Taking these features into account, this paper will describe a strategic framework for evaluating the possible transformation of postal fleet operations to hybrid or (pure) electric vehicles and present some initial results for this problem. .
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