Australian Outback Postie Goes Electric

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The Australian Outback can be rugged, dusty, and dangerous. But parts of it are quite flat, very suitable terrain for the Benzina Zero Duo electric delivery vehicle. So, when Ben Silver spoke to me about a postie in Longreach converting from four-stroke petrol mail delivery bikes to electric, I thought this was news worth celebrating. The two-wheel EV revolution is a significant part of the electrification of transport. It appears that two-wheelers are having a noticeable impact on global oil consumption, and Benzina Zero is a growing part of that.

We have written about Benzina Zero several times — you can read about this exciting and innovative company here and here.

Australian outback postie
Outback postie David with Ben and Joe and two Duos. Photo courtesy of Ben Silver. 

Longreach is a town of approximately 3000 people situated over 700 km inland from the east coast of Queensland and 1200 km from the state’s capital of Brisbane. It is famous as the birthplace of Qantas, the museum of the same name, and the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame. It is also famous because we had to stop there at a caravan park for an emergency charge for Tess on our trip from Winton to Barcaldine 3 years ago. Headwinds meant there wasn’t enough charge to make it all the way to Barcaldine. You will be glad to know that the area is now replete with high-speed chargers.

Longreach is also a very conservative area, so it makes news when the postie goes electric! David Freeman is the Australia Post contractor who runs the Licensed Post Office (LPO) and delivers the mail throughout the town and surrounding area. Ben tells me that “David is now Australia’s first Australia Post Contractor to make the shift to electrify his two-wheel fleet.” With two Duos on the road, David is now looking at a third. Will that make a Duo trio?

Outback Postie
Duo ready to work. Photo courtesy of Ben Silver. 

“With over 2900 LPO’s in Australia servicing regional and rural Australia we think that the Benzina Zero Duo could very well become as iconic as the original Honda ‘postie bike’. Now silently and sustainably delivering mail to letterboxes across this vast wide land. David, the ‘postie’, googled delivery scooters and found us. He was taken by the Duo frame design,” Ben, self-styled “Chief Plugger Inner” at Benzina Zero, tells me.

Most postie runs in rural towns are about 50–100 km per day. With the option to split the run into two shorter runs, the electric Duo fits perfectly. Not only that, but David can charge his Duo batteries from the solar panels on the post office roof for free. The Duo can be ridden using a car licence, making the changeover even more convenient.

“It was the practicality of the Duo design that grabbed my attention first,” David tells us. “There is no other scooter on the market that has this level of carrying capacity, far more than any of our previous two-wheelers, and as we are carrying more parcels today, this will streamline our delivery capacity. The Duo is super rugged, with no plastic body panels to damage, and when we get to end of life, there is less to recycle.

“We look forward to using the Duos in Longreach’s mail run, as we can operate these vehicles on a car licence. We have purchased extra batteries so we can charge them from our solar system at our post office. The benefits of the low running costs and reduced servicing requirements compared to my old bikes makes the Duo very cost effective, plus they look amazing.

“I have already been speaking with other mail contractors who are looking to make the switch and the Duo is the perfect replacement for their petrol two-wheelers.”

Outback postie
Totally teched Duo. Photo courtesy Ben Silver. Photo courtesy of Ben Silver. 
Photo courtesy of Ben Silver.

Ben told me that within 3 days of the story breaking, 10 mail delivery contractors mainly from rural areas in Queensland have made enquiries. Watch this space! I hope that the Duo is as successful in this space as it has been with the Domino’s pizza delivery fleet.

Benzina Zero has made it easy for mail contractors to take on the Duo: “Benzina Zero have developed a fitting system to allow a simple installation process utilising the existing Australia Post panniers & top box from the current Honda ‘Postie’ bike. The current Honda bikes are no longer available new in Australia. This allows Australia Post Contractors to continue to use the proven and tested Australia Post equipment and suppliers. The ‘Postie’ delivery kit includes upgraded folding comfort footrests, a large 53L front basket, a phone holder and USB charger, and the rack adapter mount for the panniers and top box that fits both Duo (50km/h) and Duo+ (65km/h) versions. Letter sorting bags are also able to be used mounted to the handlebars.”

My interview with Ben took place over the phone. He was in Hervey Bay (3 hours north of Brisbane) delivering a batch of pre-sold Duos to a new dealer. He is a man on a mission. I couldn’t resist the temptation to ask for a progress report. He tells me that Benzina products are being sold in Slovenia and the United Kingdom, with importers bringing in the bikes to get ready for the summer. Benzina Zero is already well established in Italy and about to commence exports to the Philippines.

In Australia, he is continuing to expand the dealer network. Twenty-two dealers are already selling Benzina Zero products. He is also expanding the product range. “We will be launching a range of e-bikes shortly to then cover e-mopeds, e-scooters (PMDs), and e-bikes — the full breadth of personal e-mobility.” Ben is actively seeking more participating dealerships, particularly in New Zealand.

Benzina Zero describes itself as being at the forefront of a global shift to electric vehicles. Its vehicles enable the sustainable movement of both people and goods through a concise portfolio of products whilst satisfying a wide range of customer needs and business requirements. Benzina Zero is Italian for “Zero Fuel.”

With the establishing of an online sales page to improve accessibility to products, and also a broader range of customer-driven products, the future is bright for Benzina Zero — and of course, it is electric!

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David Waterworth

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].

David Waterworth has 748 posts and counting. See all posts by David Waterworth