Postal Service + Wind Farm + Electric Vehicles – What could possibly go wrong?

I would not have believed this had I not seen this come from this idiot’s Senator’s mouth. Take the three most inefficient and subsidized things in government today, add them together, and there’s no way that spells SUCCESS. It does spell FAIL though.

From Fox News website (via C-SPAN)

As the potential collapse of the United States Postal Service looms on the horizon, one Senate Democrat has proposed an unusual plan to solve the crisis.

Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) looks to harvest the electricity that windmill farms produce in order to power a new fleet of battery-operated postal delivery vehicles, replacing the previous ’25 to 30 years old’ ‘dilapidated’ vehicles.

The Senator admits the idea is “out there” but concludes that “we need to be thinking boldly, and the postal service needs to do that”

Watch the video:

If you are a constituent you need to sound off. The stupidity of this idea is not only robust, it is unprecedented. Electric vehicles do better on long hauls and commutes, stop/start a thousand times a day at each mailbox, not so much.

They’d be FORD’s  (Found On Road Discharged) the first day.

(h/t) Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

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DaveG

Lets be bold – Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) = Stupid is Stupid does.

The actual US Postal service actually makes a profit, the union negotiated pension package is what is killing them.

The little smile between hopeful bursts of absurdity is just wayyy to cute. And out there, too.

Chris B

It’s no wonder the watermelon’s have buffaloed so many Democrats. Hopefully this guy is not the sharpest knife in the democratic drawer.

noaaprogrammer

Carper’s postal plan? – permanently cancelled, I hope.

DirkH

supercujo says:
April 25, 2012 at 7:08 pm
“The actual US Postal service actually makes a profit, the union negotiated pension package is what is killing them.”
The pensions are part of what the workers cost; so excluding the pensions from this cost is sophistry.
They were profitable would they not need to pay pensions, but as they need to, they are not.

alan

“Siemens Wind Project Generates Losses”
Big difficluties in connecting the off shore North Sea wind farms to the German power grid. And these loses are projected into the future because of the “long implementation lead time” in these projects!
http://english.ntdtv.com/ntdtv_en/news_business/2012-04-25/Siemens-Wind-Project-Generates-Losses.html#video_section

supercujo says:
April 25, 2012 at 7:08 pm
The actual US Postal service actually makes a profit, the union negotiated pension package is what is killing them.
>>>>>>>>>>
Is that all? Simple solution really, worked for GM who was in the same boat. Just have the government buy them.
Oh, wait…. never mind.

Mike

Biden and now this guy? Maryland, can you do a little better please?

Electric vehicles do better on long hauls and commutes, stop/start a thousand times a day at each mailbox, not so much.
>>>>>>>>>>>
Well that’s easily fixed too. Just have the electric cars park on the corner in each neighbourhood. Residents will be required to bring their mailbox to the car. That would cut out 98% of the starts and stops and save even more money! Even better, we could convince everyone to stop sending paper documents in the mail and only send electronic documents and save more fuel still.
Oh, wait…. never mind.

Mike Smith

This First Class Male should be Certified as a matter of Priority 😉

R. Shearer

Neither ran nor sleet nor snow will keep us from completing our appointed rounds, but lack of wind will keep our vehicles in the garage.

Lew Skannen

Well that was quick!
I started my daily ‘spot the lunatic’ exercise and finished in less than two minutes. An all time record.

Well, New Zealand can do better than that! How about putting wind farms on fault lines and not being able to dispatch the electricity! Take a look at the corruption behind this watermelon fail.
http://nzwindfarms.wordpress.com/

fxk

Postal Service 1. is not government 2.not subsidized 3.been a “cash cow” for congress for decades – price of stamps is really a hidden tax. 4. Has experience with electric, hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles. This electric vehicle program has been in the works for years – has been testbed for smart grid technology. Will this save the USPS. No.

edcaryl

Typical Democrat. He has no thought about paying for either the wind turbines or the vehicles. I suppose he thinks that Congress passing his idea will make them appear like magic.

I beg to differ; it’s a good idea (the cars, not the windmills). Number One Son drove a high-school electric project car around for a while (it wasn’t much more than a golf cart that ran on lead-acid batteries, but it was street-legal). Then one summer he worked for the Postal Service. He quickly observed that an with low daily mileage, an electric car made more sense than starting and stopping the gasoline-powered little trucks and vans the USPS now uses. They are required to shut them off every time the driver gets out to walk half a block, which is hard on the engines, and means they never really warm up. Electric cars would be more efficient, cleaner, and longer-lived.
/Mr Lynn

Congress should just eliminate the USPS.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postal_Reorganization_Act
No need to send letters much anymore. FedEx, UPS and the rest can fill the required void. Use private contractors for the rural areas.
Private industry will adapt just fine if junk mail was gone…and think of how GREEN we would be.
Why is the USPS needed today?

Back in the 70’s or 80’s I anted to buy one of Vanguard’s electric postal trucks–I forget why the government wouldn’t take them. (My wife, wiser that I said NO! — we had a citicar in the garage a lot for maintenance.)
http://www.autonet.ca/auto-news/automotive-industry-news/2011/10/30/vanguard-citicar/

“They’d be FORD’s (Found On Road Discharged) the first day.”
I thought it was Fix Or Repair Daily…

Eric Simpson

Just as long as it’s the leftist Democrats, and not Republicans of any stripe, that advocate these costly, nutty endeavors. I mention this because it is important that we stem any effort to revive Republican / conservative interest in taking up “the cause” again of the leftists on AGW. My Tom Nelson comment on this:
RINO Repub Huntsman was virtually lynched for his adamant and self-righteous pushing of the leftist AGW. I think he was puzzled a bit by the voters’ reaction; it appears that some of the establishment Repubs just seemed tone deaf to the people constituting their own party, of which in a recent Pew poll only 19% of Repubs believed in man-made GW.
In years past, conservatives were duped good, indeed made a fool of, by the leftists on agw. Now, we can have moderate Repubs, but never again will they get away with espousing the Marxist-motivated and extensively debunked climate theory of the econuts.

Russ in Houston

“Going Postal” now has a whole new meaning.

Andrew Newberg says:
April 25, 2012 at 7:45 pm
“They’d be FORD’s (Found On Road Discharged) the first day.”
I thought it was Fix Or Repair Daily…

“Found On The Road Dead” back in the days of the PIntos with the vulnerable gas tanks.
/Mr Lynn

CV

I’m surprised this clown didn’t suggest putting windmills atop the new electric vehicles to recharge them as they drive.
Arts majors may need to ask science majors about this. XD

BarryW

Electric vehicles do better on long hauls and commutes, stop/start a thousand times a day at each mailbox, not so much.

I’m surprised at that statement. You’re much more knowledgeable in this area than I am, but I would think that a start/stop regime would be appropriate for an electric vehicle. When you take your foot off the gas in an internal combustion vehicle it has to keep running. Electric just stops sending juice to the motor. Is it the startup load that’s the issue?
On another note, I live in Delaware (I know, with representatives like these it’s embarrassing, but I live down state where there is some semblance of rationality) and we have three communities in our area. The first two were started some years ago and have mailbox delivery at our houses. The newest one requires the owners to go to a central area to get their mail. Sort of like an apartment mailbox area only outside. Just wait, it’s coming to the rest of us.
Carper is just trying to find justification for the offshore wind project here that’s not going anywhere.

Heh. “Out there” is right. And people thought Postage Due was wild.

BarryW says:
April 25, 2012 at 8:04 pm

I’m surprised, too. I hesitate to contradict Anthony, who actually owns an electric car, but I think he’s mistaken about the utility of electric vehicles in start-and-stop work.
/Mr Lynn

crosspatch

Well, if they just put little windmills on the vehicles they could make the electricity as they drive. Maybe put some little propellers on their hats, too. /sarc

Willis Eschenbach

DirkH says:
April 25, 2012 at 7:16 pm

supercujo says:
April 25, 2012 at 7:08 pm

“The actual US Postal service actually makes a profit, the union negotiated pension package is what is killing them.”

The pensions are part of what the workers cost; so excluding the pensions from this cost is sophistry.

It’s only “part of what the workers cost” because the unions have inflated the pensions. I see no reason that government employees should get a dime more than what I and millions of other workers will get when we retire—Social Security. Instead, they will retire on much more money than I’ll ever see.
Claiming this is not an issue is indeed sophistry …
w.

DirkH

Andrew Newberg says:
April 25, 2012 at 7:45 pm
““They’d be FORD’s (Found On Road Discharged) the first day.”
I thought it was Fix Or Repair Daily…”
There was also Found On Road, Dead. (Happy ex owner of a Ford Escort Turbodiesel).

Ben D.

Mr Lynn says:
April 25, 2012 at 7:38 pm
“I beg to differ; it’s a good idea (the cars, not the windmills).”
Electric motors require a huge current from standing start to normal running speed, and since the number of stop starts is high, and the fact that recharge time would be only in short bursts between stops, the batteries would be discharged quite quickly..

fxk says:
April 25, 2012 at 7:38 pm
Postal Service 1. is not government 2.not subsidized 3.been a “cash cow” for congress for decades – price of stamps is really a hidden tax. 4. Has experience with electric, hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles. This electric vehicle program has been in the works for years – has been test bed for smart grid technology. Will this save the USPS. No.

Yes, you are correct. There is some issue with the recent payments USPS is supposed to make to the retirement system.
The real issue is not the straw men that USPS keeps throwing out under the bus.
USPS’s problems are that it expanded hugely during the massive boom in both first class and third class mail. Incredible amounts of people were hired to move this country’s mail. At the same time, USPS was aggressively researching and implementing automation. That is, the ability to sort and handle mail mechanically.
The good news is that USPS (and many other countries Postal Services) succeeded.
The bad news is that mail volume started dropping in the 1990s. First class mail was the first to see the decline. Recently even third class (bulk also colloquially called junk), has been dropping as advertisers are finding email much cheaper and cost wise a very successful advertising method.
Back in the late eighties and very early nineties, a Postmaster General named Tony Frank promised, as in agreed, the unions of the USPS workers a “no layoff” clause.
This no layoff idea and promise combined with a massive automation of the mail stream means that for USPS to keep all of those workers, productivity drops. “Work always expands to fit allowed time.” This isn’t to say those workers are not working hard. USPS also employs an immense staff of postmasters, supervisors and managers; their job is to make sure all of those employees work hard.
What USPS has far to many of is postoffices and processing centers. USPS could easily do away with thousands of postoffices and many of their processing centers. Yes, this would certainly impact the staff at those sites.
The real reason USPS has not addressed this issue is because the USPS greatly fears both the American public and their legislators. NO legislator wants USPS to close a facility in their area while they are in elected office. Following that main reason, USPS management has an inability to really believe that the mail stream is vanishing and to take the necessary steps. So, like so many others they blame their ineptness on Congress and want to be bailed out.
The big magic monopoly granted to USPS is the care and delivery of personal messages which is the basis for first class mail. America’s founders reasoned that freedom depends of safe secure communications between people.
USPS probably should have grabbed onto email as it birthed and sought to enforce the same protections given to first class mail. Maybe it will still figure this part out.

Russ in Houston

Mr Lynn says:
April 25, 2012 at 8:14 pm
Starting a vehicle from a dead stop takes a lot of energy. Starting a gasoline engine takes almost no additional fuel with today’s fuel injector technology. However, if your electricity is “free” and tax payers are buying the new electric cars…

Jeff Alberts

The newest one requires the owners to go to a central area to get their mail. Sort of like an apartment mailbox area only outside. Just wait, it’s coming to the rest of us.

I’ve owned two different houses on two different coasts in the last 21 years, and I’ve had community mailboxes all that time.

Electric vehicles do better on long hauls and commutes, stop/start a thousand times a day at each mailbox, not so much.
Huh? I thought electric vehicles with Regenerative Braking would fair comparatively well in start-stop uses such as mail routes. Diesels are for long haul. …. At least that’s the myth I learned from Scientific American over the years. So what’s the current scoop?
REPLY: Regenerative braking only recovers a fraction of the energy, that fraction can vary anywhere from 10% to 90% depending on conditions, speeds, and design…my typical experience with my electric vehicles is about 25-35%. – Anthony

wermet

Mike says: April 25, 2012 at 7:19 pm
Biden and now this guy? Maryland, can you do a little better please?
—————
This guy’s from Delaware not Maryland. Please don’t accuse us of sending this clown gentleman to Congress.
[Unfortunately, Maryland sends more than its fair-share of “useful idiots” to Congress as it is.]

wermet

OMG. Words cannot express the amount of FAIL contained within this one video.
First, we start with the grossly inefficient Postal Service
Then add to that two unproven and inefficient energy technologies
And the result is supposed to be one grand super efficient system? Right….
I think someone is relying too much on the power of fairy dust, unicorn farts and wishful thinking.

Ben D. says:
April 25, 2012 at 8:21 pm
Electric motors require a huge current from standing start to normal running speed, and since the number of stop starts is high, and the fact that recharge time would be only in short bursts between stops, the batteries would be discharged quite quickly..

How about work vehicles like electric forklifts? They spend all day starting and stopping.
Then there’s regenerative braking, as Stephen Rasey mentions above.
And, of course, you could keep the electric motor running at a modest speed, and just push a pedal, engaging a belt drive. That would save the starting surge on the battery.
Time for some real-world experience!
/Mr Lynn

Alvin

Just like gov’t grants for climate change, lets think up a way to throw billions more at a failing business plan.

RockyRoad

The only thing Democrats excel at is getting elected. Nothing else is on their horizon unless it somehow is tied to their inane ideology of saving the planet or creating nirvana.
Too bad they fail miserably at eveything else.

cartoonasaur

When I drive freeways and surface streets with my Prius, the battery stays charged. I save $1,500 a year on gas. Yay.
When I drive downtown (here in San Diego), and stop and start at the lights and all the stop signs, my battery empties very quickly – Postal Service vehicles stop and start WAY more I do on their daily routes.
Ergo: Regenerative braking, which I have, is not enough to recoup the energy lost with all the stops a Postal Service car must make.

Mark B.

Carper is right that the idea is out there. Maybe it would work on the Moon if you replaced wind with solar power.
Less gravity = less power to move vehicles
Less air = less resistance to movement
No clouds = more sun to convert to power
And there is no one to deliver mail to so 28 miles should be a fine range.
The Post-normal science NASA might even be able to make it work.

Drole! Programmed failure is what the gummit does best. They plan it, implement it, and it goes over the cliff with all our money in it. Carper’s no slouch, but he’s not the one driving the little car in the big clown parade.

Postal vehicle are old and dilapidated…. or senators from Delaware?

crosspatch

You can use a flywheel system for stop/start if the stops are of short duration. Where I live the mail truck parks, the mailman delivers mail in the surrounding blocks, the truck moves several blocks, mailman gets out and delivers more, etc. The truck is parked more than it is driving in my neighborhood.

crosspatch

This guy’s from Delaware not Maryland. Please don’t accuse us of sending this clown gentleman to Congress.
[Unfortunately, Maryland sends more than its fair-share of “useful idiots” to Congress as it is.]

Well, maybe if the state had a more competent congressional delegation the state could grow a little and maybe absorb some of those Eastern shore counties. I frankly think Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Caroline counties might rather be part of Delaware anyway. /sarc

Keith Minto

The demise of the US Postal system has featured on Australian television recently.
Our ‘corner’ Post Offices are part of a franchising system, where the owner/operators are independent business people that work to a set system that really works well, the operators seem happy and enthusiastic. Rural area deliveries are contracted out and operators provide their own transport, definitely not electric.
http://auspost.com.au/working-with-us/postal-outlets-and-retail-operations.html

John Robertson

Slow news day?

Geoff Sherrington

CV says: April 25, 2012 at 7:55 pm I’m surprised this clown didn’t suggest putting windmills atop the new electric vehicles to recharge them as they drive.
20 years ago, one of the US railroads put solar-electric systems on railroad cabs to power the night lights.

Bill Tuttle

Chris B says:
April 25, 2012 at 7:15 pm
It’s no wonder the watermelon’s have buffaloed so many Democrats. Hopefully this guy is not the sharpest knife in the democratic drawer.

No, but he *is* the sharpest light bulb in the knife drawer…