Monday, January 10, 2011

Electric vehicles. Smart buy or silly expenditure?

MAG International, Inc., a California-based subsidiary of LadyBug Resource Group claims that it can convert the USPS LLV fleet to electric for around $25,000 per vehicle.

We have 146,000 Grumman long life vehicle in our inventory. And with that many vehicles, which get no more than 10 miles per gallon, we use plenty of petro.

But, in order to convert the entire fleet, it would cost a cool $3.6 billion.

What do you think? Smart move? Something we should consider? Comment here.


Anonymous said...

Every time someone brings up the idea of an electric vechile...there is always something left out. That is the cost of recharging them and the cost of the batteries and later replacing them. When I looked at buying one years ago.....I found that I could buy a regular fuel vehicle and pay $4.00 a gallon for gas and it would still be cheaper then buying an electric car. Now you want to take a LLV that has 300,000 miles on it already and spend another 25,000 to convert it? That won't make the transmission, brakes, or anything else last any longer.

Anonymous said...

If we want to have continuity of the U.S.P.S. and evolve w/the times, this conversion must come secondary to ridding a big chunk of highly paid, redundant positions in upper management. There is no excuse for Postal executives as well as the Board of Governors to retain "no discernable value" positions.
With the elimination of our hard earned and wasted revenue in these areas and others, should be the right place to start.
I believe that electric vehicles would be cost effective. Batteries are expensive but fuel is more expensive in more than one way. Seeing how fuel prices will soon be $5.00 per gallon or more it may be the way to keep USPS a viable, albeit leaner, smarter work force.

Unions must stop their frivolous, petty waste of time in greivance booths and supervisors that don't have people or mgmt. skills must go somewhere else.
Congress needs to pass a law that would give the Postal Service a 'for profit' status and bring in a CEO that knows how to run a business and clean house of these high salaried, "no value positions." Cash incentives should be made available for wise counsel from craft employees that make the work more efficient and timely. There is no place for vindictive and clueless supervisors in today's Postal Service. A wise supervisor would seek suggestions from his/her workforce. Unions can no longer operate. Management has already won by dividing and conquering. If there is no right to strike, then unions are noise. They are a sucking sound much like that of upper "no value management." Money saved from frivolous greivances nationwide would be a great gain. Instead of union dues to three unions not counting NAPS, employees/mgmt could create a non-partial, binding arbitation system with guidelines for labor/mgmt. issues.
Material mgmt. should be a top priority as well. We are all the same Postal Service and there is dissention between Mail Processing and Customer Service nationwide. If they can't work together for the common good then electric LLV's is a moot point.

Create a type of Postal Craigslist. The 'E-buy Excess items' actually causes the USPS to pay twice or more for the same item at times. Not on everything, but the big ticket items, this happens. Coupling electric vehicles, which are easier to maintain and creating a type of 'USPS Craigslist' for the use of already paid for material and ending ridiculous, non-sense wastes of money over petty greivances, could make the Service srong again.
The question of labor/mgmt resolution would be answered by what's best for our profit margin which could feasibly end up in 'Profit Sharing'. Profit sharing should cause craft employees to do their jobs smarter and more efficiently.
Pipe Dream? or Pipe full of wasted revenue because people don't want to do their jobs and sit in greivance booths. It's a two way street. Management has to do a better job discerning their pick of supervisors that fuel the greivance fire that burns our hard earned revenue. All employees have to be more mature and glad to have a job w/benefits and do a little more than was expected from a useless, archaic contract. USPS will continue to erode unless things change.
Why not start with the "no value " positions in managenent and then with electric vehicles. Ten miles per gallon per LLV @ 5.00 a gallon with no cap in sight or electric and easier maintained vehicles.
What to do w/dead batteries? Everyday, engineers are developing longer life batteries that are more environmentally efficient and friendly. Compared to emissions from gas operated veicles, all those tree hugging people should jump on the electric USPS bandwagon.
Here's an opportunity to weigh in.

Joan said...

Consider the cost of the LLV- what life it has left, the batteries and the "actual" not proposed savings of the electric. We still pay for electricity. which is cost efficient.

Anonymous said...

I think it would be jumping the gun to spend $25,000 per vehicle to convert them to electric. The technology just isn't perfected yet. The batteries are very expensive to replace, and they must be disposed of properly or they are an environmental hazard. Then there's also the issue of reliability and performance. How long does a charge last? What about funtioning at higher speeds?

I know that we're all about "going green", but that can't be the only factor. I think we need to really consider this carefully, given the dire financial situation we're in. I personally just don't see the cost savings.

grannybunny said...

This issue requires a thorough cost-benefit analysis, in order to determine whether it makes economic sense. On an unrelated issue -- to the poster complaining about upper-level, high salaried, "no value management" -- PMG Donahoe just this week announced a 16% cut in the senior executive ranks.

Anonymous said...

Do the math before you go out and convert the LLV's. $3.6 billion is alot to spend and how much longer will the LLV's last. Like so many things we do, no one seems to have looked at other alternatives. Someone says this is a way of "going green" so we do it even though we are spending alot of green. I say no. There are other ways to cut costs. Look at the dead beats, the post offices that don't have enough revenue to cover costs, unions that file frivilous grievances because they can, not because they are necessary...the list goes on and all and all of it costs money.

jasmine krotkov said...

Gas and diesel-powered vehicles pollute and put us into the thrall of petro-companies who manipulate fuel prices. Electric vehicles pollute at the electricity generating plant and put us into the thrall of electricity generating companies. I can not find solid research on whether an electric vehicle is in the end more or less polluting or efficient than a gasser. Can you? I'd like to know that before investing $3.6m.

Anonymous said...

So how much would a newer version that is already electric cost? I say do a comparison first.

Anonymous said...

The LLVs are 18-24 years old. How long will the rest of the vehicle hold up after a $25K electric conversion?

Do a cost study of 1-2 converted LLVs before making any decisons on a grand scale.

Regardless of the electric possibilities, is anyone monitoring whether carriers are adhering to their authorized route mileage?

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen a CBA (Cost benefit analysis) done properly since I have joined the USPS...some 15 years ago. The analysis is based on created numbers, not real figures, but rather averages. Like the poster said above, take 3 LLV's and convert them first. Then you pull the maintainence records on these 3 LLV's (not someone's average costs) and fuel usage reports for 12 months. Then run the electric LLVs for 12 months. Run the chargers through an electric meter to get an accruate recharge cost. Then compare the costs.

Anonymous said...

PLEASE DO NOT put that kind of money into a decades old vehicle!!!
It will end up being a complete waste of money in addition to putting OUR company and OUR futures at risk.

Anonymous said...

Get bids for NEW electric LLV's. That makes more sense.

EliMoon said...

As far as I'm concerned with electronic versus gas vehicles, if the electronic vehicle has a solar pannel on top and the capacity to store extra energy throughout the day it would be cost effecient to have a few of them, but converting old beat up vehicles into this type costs about the same amount as buying one brand new. If we have to plug the vehicles in to charge them then it wouldn't make the cost any more or less expensive than spending the money on gas services, because both the gas and electric prices are going to continue to rise.
I also agree with the extremely lenghty post in getting rid of jobs that don't really have any true value to the company, and getting rid of the Unions that control everything about our work without consulting most of us in the work force. If this is a free county we as an individual should be able to tell our employers what we believe is acceptable in the various areas that Unions do.

On a more personal note If I could afford one of the solar powered energy storing vehicles I would so have one!