New Zealand Post plans to invest NZ$15m over the next two years to buy a fleet of electric delivery vehicles.
The company believes the purchase of the four-wheeled battery powered vehicles will give it new options, such as the ability to pick up returns as well as deliver parcels.
The first shipment of 50 of the Norwegian-made vehicles is due to arrive in mid-2016.
The vehicles, with a top speed of 45km/h and a range of 80-90km, will be used to deliver of parcels and letters in residential areas in larger population centres.
“The vehicles will give us extra capacity to meet the growing demand created by online shopping and give us an edge in the competitive parcel delivery market,” said Ashley Smout, service delivery chief operating officer for New Zealand Post.
“They’ll allow us to be more efficient and, over time, enable new and convenient services to residential customers such as parcel pick-ups, returns and re-directions,” he added.
“Capacity will also be freed up in our vans so couriers can concentrate on business customers.”
The four-wheeled vehicles carry loads of up to 200kg but are still small enough drive on the pavement.
They have been already been trialled delivering mail in Taranaki and on the roads of Auckland and Wellington.
“Trials have shown the eco-vehicles are safe to use on the footpath. Our drivers receive safety training and give way to all other footpath users,” said Smout.