Chunghwa Post is to add 800 to 900 more scooters to its electric fleet this year, part of its seven-year plan replace all of its gasoline-powered motorcycles launched in 2018, the company said yesterday.
The first batch of electric scooters were added to its fleet in January last year as part of efforts to comply with the Executive Yuan’s action plan to curb air pollution.
Of its 9,000 scooters, 1,627 are electric, and they are used primarily to deliver mail in urban areas, with the older gasoline-powered motorcycles used in rural or hilly areas, it said.
However, mail carriers have complained about the electric scooters’ lack of horsepower and short battery life, Chunghwa Post chairman Louis Wei (魏健宏) said during a luncheon with reporters.
The company has passed along the complaints to the nation’s motorcycle manufacturers to help them improve their designs, he said.
“The company is still evaluating whether it is better to lease the scooters or buy them outright and would consult with the Institute of Transportation on the issue,” he said.
Its new electric scooters would have 6 kilowatt engines instead of the 4.5 kilowatt motors used in the previous batch, Department of Mail Business and Operations Director Welson Hsueh (薛門騫) said, adding that newer versions have a minimum range of 50km per charge.
They would also have functions aimed at helping mail carriers, such as engines that can be turned off and on more than 100 times during a delivery run, Hsueh said.
The company also plans to buy electric tricycles equipped with cargo wagons, which would be unveiled at the end of this year, Hsueh said.
The tricycles would be able to carry more mail and be more balanced, Hsueh said, adding that such vehicles are being used in France and Germany.
The first batch of electric tricycles would be used to deliver mail in Hengchun Township (恆春), Pingtung County, particularly in flood-prone areas and those areas frequently affected by katabatic, or drainage, winds, as well as nighttime express mail deliveries, Hsueh said.
The tricycles would have a range of 120km per charge, he said.
“The cost an electric tricycle is about 10 percent higher than that of an electric scooter, but the vehicles would give our mail carriers a safer work environment,” Hsueh said.
Chunghwa Post is working on raising employees’ salaries this year after making a profit of NT$14.4 billion (US$467 million at the current exchange rate) last year, but the details need to be worked out with the postal workers’ union, Wei said.
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