Ford Motor Company, in partnership with Baker Electromotive of Rome, NY, has received the single largest electric vehicle order in US history. The United States Postal Service (USPS) is purchasing an initial order of 500 electric mail delivery vehicles based on the Ford Ranger EV and has the option of ordering a total of 6,000 units.
Production of the 500 electric mail delivery vehicles will begin in the autumn of 2000 and continue through the following year. The bulk of the electric postal vehicles will be used for mail delivery in California, with the remainder going to the Washington, DC area.
Affordability was a vital aspect of this project. The challenge from the Postal Service was to have the electric vehicles priced as closely to a flexible fuel delivery vehicle as possible. Incentive dollars from New York State, the Washington, DC.area, California, the federal government and various utilities are helping make that a reality.
Final assembly of the postal EVs will take place at Baker Electromotive outside Rome in the Griffiss Business and Technology Park. At the Rome facility, Baker Electromotive will assemble the electric vehicle chassis of the Ford Ranger EV with the Grumman vehicle body.
The electric postal delivery vehicles are based on the Ford Ranger electric pickup truck. Ranger EV is the national leader in electric vehicle sales, with 561 vehicles sold in North America during the 1999 model year. There are now over 1,000 Ranger EVs in use by customers throughout the US and Canada. The vehicle’s proven EV technology was one reason Ford Motor Company was selected by the USPS.
Ford has developed a unique preheat system for the postal vehicle. While the vehicle is charging, a button can be pressed to heat up the interior compartment by taking energy directly from the power grid and not from the battery system. Preheating the vehicle takes about 10 minutes and helps add to the vehicle’s driving range and to driver convenience.
Ranger EV was introduced for the 1998 model year. The vehicle can be driven about 50 miles before recharging and accelerate from 0-50 mph in 12.5 seconds, similar to its gasoline-powered counterpart. The vehicle uses an industry-standard conductive charging system.