I need some opinions on a mail delivery vehicle

I would like to convert a vehicle for rural mail delivery. I have been doing a little research but I just cant find much on range for different kits. I understand the obvious like weight and aerodynamics. The vehicle needs to stop at about 600 mail boxes give or take 50 over a 50 mile range on a single charge. Keeping in mind that rural carriers are in a hurry “heavy foot”.
Is it possible to get that kind of range out of batteries on a smaller vehicle? The vehicle needs to have room left over for mail after the batteries are installed. A small truck with an extended cab would work.
Please share with me your opinions on weather this is feasible and the approximate cost of the conversion not counting the vehicle.

Thanks in advance, Ken

is the technology here today to meet these needs???

I say it can be done, but not real cheap. To get the range you want you will need (maybe not need) to use lithium. that would probably run you anywhere from 7 to 20 thousand depending on brand and if you are up to making packs on your own. Add to that the cost of motor, controller, donor truck etc.

In my opinion, the best bet would be a first generation S10 Blazer. They were made from like 1985 to 1994, and also came in a 4 door version. My wife delivered with a 2 door 4WD with the 4.3L, and saw 19MPG on route. Those rigs take a hell of a beating too. She loved it, and said that if we had to replace it due to wear she wanted another one just like it. The turning radius on it was tight enough that she could deliver down one side of the street, do a single 180 degree turn on any neighborhood street without curbing the tires, driving in the grass or having to back up, then deliver down the other side.

We also had the controls moved over to the right hand side, the guy that did it just mounted removable bars in it that reached over, with a pedal on the right side and a flap on the left side for the brakes, and a pedal on the right with a little attachment that pulled on the gas line same as the factory pedal on the left. The steering wheel was hard mounted to the floor on a square tube column, and a set of V belt pulleys welded to the steering wheels allowed steering. It worked very well, but you have to be careful on the belt selection because some belts can cut you if you happen to reach across while moving the wheel. We used a Gates belt with rounded off edges on hers.

The only real problem it had was with the tail lights, the heat from always being on the brakes would melt the wiring on the light bulb assembly card so I kept having to replace it. The final fix was a set of trailer LED tail lights that I screwed right onto the outside of the tail light housing. Course, going electric you’ll want to be installing all LEDs on it anyway. You can get strobe LEDs for the roof now, but since she was all gasoline it wasn’t a big deal to use a rotator light on top. The one I put in for her was super bright, was blinding in the daytime and would be the first thing you see on a foggy day, even before headlights.

There is enough room for a V8 under the hood and the transmission tunnel is huge, so you’d be able to remove the engine and transmission, and do a direct drive motor mounted entirely inside the transmission tunnel. This would leave a LOT of room under the hood for batteries and the power controller. Or, the controller could be mounted on the driver side floor pan so long as it didn’t interfere with the pedals. Since this is a work truck, who cares what it looks like, right? That would leave more room under the hood for batteries. If that wasn’t enough, the 20 gallon fuel tank can be removed and a battery tray installed in its place. This would leave the entire interior available for carrying mail, and sticking with an SUV over a truck means you can stay dry and warm longer instead of having to get out and mess about under a bed cover. Since a truck with a bed cover is a 2 compartment SUV, may as well just get a regular SUV and have the room.

Thanks for the very constructive replys. I wouldnt mind having an older blazer, I was just thinking about the weight issue. drewjet You mentioned lithium batteries costing between 7 and 20 thousand dollars depending on if I wanted to build the packs myself. Would that be about 7000 If I built the packs myself? I wouldnt mind doing that. Where is a good source for lithium batteries. Im also assuming that you are talking about the lifpo4? batteries. I have heard of people disecting dewalt battery packs for those. Is that the best source for those today?

Im also assuming that you are talking about the lifpo4? batteries. I have heard of people disecting dewalt battery packs for those. Is that the best source for those today?

That is really ineresting. I didnt know those were lithium. I would be really interested in hearing more about this. Can any of you guys that really know this stuff give me the skinny on how many of those it would take take to power an ev.

Here is a link to the batteries I built for my motorcycle. http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=3418
I just got an email from him saying he is closing them out at $3.00 a piece. That is almost in line with lead prices. I would guess you would need in the range of about 2000 cells.
I have about 500 miles on my motorcycle so far, and they seem to be holding up. But that really isn’t much cycles in the grand scheme of things.

I have plans of doing an S-10 myself, but need to get some more funding first.