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Sustainable fleet operations in the postal sector

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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, additional complexities make this 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 operators and the automotive industry. Taking these features into account, this paper describes a strategic framework for evaluating the possible transformation of postal fleet operations to hybrid or (pure) electric vehicles and presents some initial results.

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