Innovation & technology

E-mobility: the pioneer

Renato Ercolani recalls the difficulties encountered in rolling out Swiss Post’s electric scooters.

Sandra Gonseth

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Renato Ercolani, Vehicle Fleet Manager at PostMail, at the Berne workshop of Post Company Cars, the Swiss Post subsidiary for fleet management (Copyright: Monika Flückiger)

Renato Ercolani was closely involved as the DX seniors’ vehicle made by Kyburz matured into a production-ready, Swiss Post delivery vehicle. “We were the first in the world to introduce three-wheeled electric scooters on such a scale”, explains the 40-year old. We had a large number of questions to answer concerning batteries, range and accessories, and the power supply in certain buildings had to be completely modernized. And what’s more: “Despite being well prepared, there were still some teething issues”, he says. 

The battery performance was designed for a lot of stop-and-go traffic, full loads and long trips. “But then came winter”. The low temperatures and difficult road conditions had a negative impact on range. This led to some scooters coming to a standstill before the end of the round. Some axles also broke and wheels were lost. The electric scooters have triple the loading capacity as decommissioned petrol-powered variants. This in addition to the hard work required on a day of postal delivery leads to a lot of strain on the vehicles. 

There were even a few fires while charging the batteries at night, which fortunately ran their course with little damage. “We learned from these issues and worked together with the manufacturer to undertake a range of technical improvements.” Today, the electric scooters are popular amongst employees thanks most of all to their safety and good ergonomics.

Did you know?

A second lease of life for Swiss Post scooter batteries. After approximately seven years, their batteries still have a storage capacity of almost 80 percent – not enough to continue using them in mail delivery, but more than enough for use in a stationary energy storage unit for solar electricity.

written by

Sandra Gonseth

Editor