Royal Mail's new electric vans are straight out of Postman Pat

The Royal Mail has debuted nine new electric vans to ferry post around central London for the next year as part of a trial run, and to our eyes they look as if they've come straight out of a Postman Pat episode set in the near future.

Of course as well as the cute toy look, these vans are designed to cut down on the emissions and pollution caused by the fleet of over 49,000 trucks, vans and cars it has on the road - which are all kind of necessary when you're delivering to 29 million addresses.

The vans vary in size between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes and have a range of up to 100 miles, according to automaker Arrival. They're on the road from today, so keep an eye out for them if you like anywhere near the Mount Pleasant depot.

Ready for the self-driving revolution

As well as being battery powered, the vans are also made from ultra-lightweight composite materials and fitted with extra-wide windscreens, giving drivers a better chance of seeing cyclists and pedestrians - a requirement of the Direction Vision Standard set out by Transport for London.

What's more, the vehicles are described as "autonomous-ready", which presumably means they could be upgraded to at least partly pilot themselves if and when robo-drivers become legal in the UK. Arrival is actually owned by the creators of the self-driving car racing tournament Roborace.

It's not the first time the Royal Mail has tested out electric trucks, and the firm has also ordered 100 all-electric vans from Peugeot, going into service in December, to improve its green credentials. After that, perhaps it can move on to drones.

Via Engadget