HomeTechnologyPolish InPost focuses on e-mobility and supports ecology

Polish InPost focuses on e-mobility and supports ecology

Jacek Fior
Editor-in-Chief Climate Now!

Technology that does not degrade the environment affects business more than ever before. In the face of climate changes and challenges in the context of innovation, modern companies must focus on environmentally friendly solutions that limit the negative impact of the day-to-day operation of the company on the climate. A year ago on the portal cleantechnica.com I wrote that it is companies that will save the world, not only because ecology is a fashionable trend, but because it is a sound economic decision in the long run. One of the recipes for an optimistic future and a field for action for corporations is e-mobility – a trend that is supposed to revolutionize transport, economy and directly affect the improvement of the quality of our life.

Poland, like other EU countries, intends to support activities leading to the development of e-mobility. The Electromobility Development Program (E-bus and E-car project) has been operating since 2016, and the Act on Electromobility and Alternative Fuels since 2018. PSPA, or the Polish Alternative Fuels Association, is functioning more and more dynamically, supporting companies in many fields in the development of alternative methods and means of transport. The Low Emission Transport Fund (FNT) has also started to operate on the initiative of the Ministry of Energy. The electromobile ecosystem in Poland is just beginning, but it has great potential and future prospects.

For several months now, we have been observing the activities of one of the companies that focuses on EVs and modern solutions in the field of e-mobility in Poland, i.e. InPost. The company supports pro-ecological attitudes on many levels: with regard to electric cars already in its fleet and those planned, in the context of servicing parcel lockers themselves, optimization of production or reuse of packaging, which it uses for packing parcels. InPost surpasses the slogans contained in the CSR of most companies and, without waiting for changes in the electrification of transport, initiates them on its own. Will care for the environment become part of the company’s expansion plan, as well as a key element of the business strategy for the coming years? There seem to be a lot of indications to believe so.

Parcel lockers with EV charges – a real breakthrough

Most of us associate InPost with parcel lockers. Few people, however, today know what revolution parcel lockers will undergo in the coming years. With the increasing number of electric cars in Poland, the number of stations and AC and DC charging points is also growing. In August 2019 there were 888 charging stations1 operating in Poland, to a large extent thanks to the efforts of the Slovak company GreenWay and several state-owned companies, headed by Orlen. However, we still lag very far behind European leaders, namely Norway, Germany or Great Britain, in this respect. There is still a lot to be done, but Poland has great potential – the entrepreneurs who are competing in creating more and more modern solutions and facilities in the industry realize it. According to PSPA, by 2025, private charging infrastructure may reach 80,000-100,000 points2 in our country.

Following this trend, also as a member of PSPA, InPost has designed and then constructed a parcel locker with a charger for electric cars. On the one hand, a very simple and seemingly obvious solution, on the other, it is a real revolution on the market. The EV charger machine premiered in Amsterdam, where I heard about it for the first time. Later it appeared at the EkoFlota Fair in Poznań and there I could take a closer look at it and listen to what the Vice-President of InPost, Sebastian Anioł, had to say. The world will yet hear about this project. It is already widely recognized. Of course, the project will support couriers who deliver packages with electric vehicles and will significantly facilitate their work. Most importantly, InPost wants to equip its parcel lockers with EV chargers and make them available for public use, i.e. for everyone who has an electric car. The first such devices will appear on our streets in the first quarter of 2020. These are ambitious goals, but if everything goes as planned, then a real charger boom awaits us.

After coming back from EkoFlota, I checked the location of the parcel locker in my city and it fits perfectly in terms of parking. It may not be the case everywhere; however, InPost can undoubtedly become a significant player on the charging market. Today the network of InPost parcel lockers counts 5000 locations spread all over the country. Only 2% of the network can be converted into 100 possible chargers for electric vehicles. We can easily imagine that finding a parcel locker with a charging point and convenient parking access will be effortless. Considering that number of locations, we are talking about 10% of all charging stations currently available in Poland.

The InPost fleet is expanded with electric vehicles

I have been observing for years that electric cars have real environmental benefits: lower CO2 emissions, less transport noise and operational savings. These are also typically “road-related” benefits – it is worth noting that the electric fleet allows you to use bus lanes and reach parts of cities that traditional combustion cars do not have access to. However, this does not translate into companies’ decisions to introduce EVs to corporate fleets. Visionaries such as Tomasz Gać, who introduced Nissan Leaf to his courier fleet at Quriers in 2015, were and are few. We have brilliant examples of electric car sharing systems – Vozilla in Wrocław and innogyGO in Warsaw. There are state-owned companies that are obliged to introduce EVs to their fleet, which is carried out, among others, by the State Forests with BMW i3. This is still not enough, though. I am waiting for real leaders. Therefore, this race is joined by InPost, which is constantly testing and examining the electric car industry: the company has completed tests of the Nissan e-NV200, including the Voltia version, Maxus EV80, Volkswagen e-Crafter and recently Mercedes e-Vito vehicles. The price, cargo space and range appear crucial to successfully deliver parcels to parcel lockers. The ultimate goal of all these tests and consultations, as I heard from the management board of InPost, is to replace as many cars as possible with electric vehicles. And as soon as possible means ideally by the end of 2020. That is why you could see InPost branded electric cars in the largest Polish cities: Warsaw, Cracow, Gdańsk and Wrocław.

Everything indicates that the business of the future will be eco-friendly. This is required by both regulations and the expectations of people who want to live and work in a healthy and sustainable environment. Can Poland become one of the leaders of e-mobility and join the group of the most innovative countries? This mostly depends on the entrepreneurs themselves. Large companies that have ambitions to set trends and are also guided by the good of the environment in their activities should take up the baton. ClimateNow will keep showing leaders and the sceptics involved in the actions necessary to stop adverse climate changes.

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