For immediate release: April 19, 2001
Media Contact: Percy Della (916) 654-4969

Partnership's Role Stressed in Launch
of Post Office Electric Vehicles

Sacramento - The nation's largest single fleet of electric vehicles officially hit the road today - the result of a partnership assembled last fall by the California Energy Commission.

The United States Postal Service and Ford Motor Company launched the 500 electric vehicles at a ceremony on the steps of the State Capitol. All but 20 of the zero emission vehicles built by Ford will go into service for the USPS in California, in areas from San Diego to the San Francisco Bay area.

California Energy Commissioner Robert Pernell, who spoke at the event said the electric delivery vans for use in short carrier routes will result in significant energy and emission benefits. "The vans will enable the Post Office to reduce the tail pipe emissions of its vehicles by nearly 143,000 pounds of carbon monoxide, 11,000 pounds of hydrocarbons, and 16,000 pounds of nitrogen oxides each year," according to Pernell.

"This project serves to demonstrate to the whole country that using efficient and environmentally preferred vehicles is the right thing to do," he stressed.

Pernell also clarified that EVs will not zap much needed power from the State's overburdened grid. "Almost 95 percent of EV charging is done off-peak, making electricity use by these vehicles virtually undetectable at the system level."

Spearheaded by Pernell, Energy Commission staff helped bring together 15 groups, including the U.S. Department of Energy, local air quality management districts, utilities and state agencies that agreed to help pay the cost difference between gas-powered delivery vans and these battery-operated vehicles. The group will assist in testing and training and will also provide infrastructure support - the charging stations the electric fleet will need.

In addition to the Energy Commission, the California Air Resources Board contributed state funds to bring the electric vehicles to California. Utility companies around the State also participating include the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas and Electric. In the northern part of the State, participants included the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Pacific Gas and Electric, Alameda Power and Telecom, and the Sacramento-based California Electric Transportation Coalition, a trade association made up of utilities advocating the development of electric vehicles.

Local air districts supporting the program include the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, the San Diego Air Quality Management District, and the South Coast Air Quality Management District, along with the Mobile Sources Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee.

Most of the new post office electric vehicles will operate in Southern California cities where air pollution problems are most severe. A total of 378 vehicles will serve the cities of Los Angeles, Carson, Costa Mesa, Covina, El Monte, Fountain Valley, Glendora, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Mirada, Pico Rivera and San Gabriel. The city of San Diego will receive 42 vehicles.

In Northern California, the cities of Alameda, Sacramento and San Jose will receive 20 electric vehicles each.

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