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Eliminate Carbon emissions from delivery services.



Urban mobility and transportation account for the largest part of pollution within our cities. Delivery services particularly contribute to urban air pollution due to the continuous and concentrated routes taken by these vehicles every day. For example, the US Postal Service (USPS) operates the largest civilian vehicle fleet in the world with an estimated 211,264 vehicles across the Country. Those vehicles deliver 40% of the world’s mail through 225,152 delivery routes (1.2 billion miles driven each year), demanding 650 million of gallons of fuel (2010) which equals to more than 5,778,500 tons of greenhouse gas emissions produced.

The City of Somerville has the highest population density of any city in New England, which makes the residential mail delivery service and any other delivery service even more influential in causing detrimental impacts to the city through more traffic and harmful urban air quality.   

These two facts represent key drivers to implementing an electric vehicle solution for the USPS fleet in Somerville to quickly eliminate the emissions from such service, thus helping the City of Somerville in its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. This initiative would initially focus on the USPS delivery system, with the possibility to develop more electric mobility applications within public and private entities such as businesses, governmental agencies, trade associations, universities and research centers.

This proposal would be a positive step towards the development of zero emission services in the City of Somerville and e-mobility as well. Moreover, it will be in alignment with Executive Order No. 13693 issued by President Obama in March 2015 that “aims to reduce the federal government’s greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions while increasing clean energy consumption”. Therefore the City of Somerville would become a national leader in implementing this Order, bringing benefits to both the local community and the Federal Government.

What actions do you propose?

  • Replace combustion-fuel delivery vehicles with Electric Vehicles (EVs).
  • Install smart recharging infrastructure for EV in USPS fleet parking lots.
  • Feed the recharging system with electricity from on-site renewable power generation (e.g. PV panels, mini-wind generator, etc.).

Who will take these actions?

  • The City of Somerville
  • USPS
  • US Federal Government
  • E-mobility service providers (i.e. ENEL Green Power North America)
  • EV manufacturers and/or dealers 

What are the key challenges?

Each USPS vehicle produces an average of 9 kilograms of CO2 emissions for every 10 mile route. This proposal would bring this number down to 0 (zero). The contribution to a net-zero mobility program would be provided by the installation of on-site renewable generation to supply the EV charging stations. Such upgrade would make this initiative a completely green “well-to-wheels” project.

As an additional value to the community, such project would contribute to reducing noise along the City’s streets. Noise pollution can be as uncomfortable as air pollution, in particular within high density areas.

What are the key benefits?

  • Improve air quality and livability in the city
  • Optimize resources
  • Reduce O&M costs
  • Leverage on distributed generation.
  • Use EV also as energy storage.
  • Noise reduction.

What are the proposal’s costs?

  • Vehicles: This cost would be endured by either USPS or the EV service provider. The actual cost of EV versus a traditional vehicle is dramatically reducing; and the purchase of an EV could also acquire substantial incentives available from the Federal Government and State of Massachusetts. Expected cost per vehicle: $30,000-40,000.
  • EV charging infrastructure and service: The service provider should take care of the initial investment (i.e. charging station, installation, commissioning, etc). USPS/City of Somerville would then pay back such investment through a long term service contract. In this way, the service provider would need to cover the initial investment and the Institutions could allocate the costs for future years with minor impact on annual budget and thereby citizens. Expected cost per recharging process (full recharge of a vehicle’s battery): $5-10 .
  • Optional On-site renewable generation: The cost of this application may vary depending on technology (i.e. solar PV, mini-wind, etc), installation cost and yearly production. The proposal is to include such option into the whole service associated with the EV charging solution. Expected cost per kWh would be in line with utility rates.

Time line

The timeline of the project would be dependent on permitting and approval from Institutions, (i.e. USPS). Once it’s approved, the service could be started in 4-6 months. The main operative issues would be: availability of EV and installation of on-site renewable generation (if needed).

Related proposals

Value not set.



Enel, Italian energy giant with massive presence around the world, and Poste Italiane, the Italian Postal Service company, have developed a series of initiatives to promote electric mobility in Italy. Thanks to an agreement with the municipality of Pisa, Italy, a pilot program for mail delivery through electric vehicles was launched in 2010.

Enel and Poste Italiane have then moved ahead launching their joint collaboration program to develop electric mobility and to achieve a “zero emissions” level of atmospheric pollutants across all the country. The postal service company has purchased 1,000 full-electric vehicles that are being recharged through 400 smart EV charging stations provided by Enel.