Nolan vows to help e-ride get postal contract

Eighth District U.S. Congressman Rick Nolan and e-ride Industries founder John Herou look at the neighborhood electric vehicle that the U.S. Postal Service test-drove for two years in Washington, D.C. The location is e-ride’s manufacturing facility just north of Princeton city limits.

Eighth District U.S. Congressman Rick Nolan and e-ride Industries founder John Herou look at the neighborhood electric vehicle that the U.S. Postal Service test-drove for two years in Washington, D.C. The location is e-ride’s manufacturing facility just north of Princeton city limits.

Someday your mail might be delivered in vehicles manufactured in Princeton if a U.S. Congressman has his way.
U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan promised, after visiting the e-ride Industries neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV) works in Princeton last Friday, that he will try to get a regulation changed so that NEVs would be allowed to reach a top speed of 35 mph on streets.
Right now the vehicles are only allowed to go 25 mph. Raising the NEVs’ allowable speed would make them more practical if the United States Postal Service (USPS) were to use NEVs, says e-ride founder and chief operating officer John Herou.
As e-ride engineer Bob Teich explained, it doesn’t make sense to not allow NEVs to reach 35 mph when they can now legally operate on roads posted at 35 mph or less.
The newly-elected Eighth District Congressman was accompanied on the tour by two office staffers. Also there was Lisa Fobbe of Princeton, who staffs the St. Cloud office of U.S. Sen. Al Franken.
Herou explained, during the tour, how the postal service tested one of e-ride’s NEVs for delivering mail in Washington, D.C. The original test was for close to a year, beginning Nov. 1, 2010, and then the contract was extended to end Nov. 10, 2012. The USPS has been test-driving vehicles from many NEV companies, according to Herou.
“Just give us a shot,” Herou said to Nolan about hopes that the speed limit for NEVs could be increased to 35 mph. Herou said he wasn’t asking for any special favors to get the postal service to choose e-ride to supply them with NEVs.
The NEVs that e-ride manufactures are 72 volts. E-ride has filled out a proposal to the postal service that, if approved, would mean that e-ride would supply the USPS with 500-1,000 NEVs. Herou says that e-ride offered three possible configurations in its proposal to the USPS: one with lead-acid batteries and a 400-watt solar panel; a second option with maintenance-free lead-acid batteries; and a third option with lithium-ion batteries.
Most of the routes that the postal service would use the NEVs on would not draw the lithium-ion batteries down more than 50 percent, therefore those batteries would last up to 20 years, Herou said.
If the postal service contracts with e-ride to produce as many as 20,000 NEVs, it would mean 350 jobs at e-ride, Herou said. Then there would be the jobs produced at the companies supplying NEV parts for e-ride, Herou added.
“We just need you to help,” Herou told Nolan.
“You’re going to get it,” Nolan replied. Nolan added that for the postal service to use NEVs, instead of the gas engine-powered vehicles it is using now, would save the government a lot of money. Herou calculated that if the postal service were to use 20,000 e-ride NEVs over a 20-year period, the USPS would save nearly $3.11 billion through less fuel and maintenance.
Nolan said that the best effort to get a federal law changed to allow NEVs to go up to 35 mph would be if the entire Congressional delegation from Minnesota was behind it.

up arrow