Interview with Pascal Marcelli, deployment manager of charging infrastructures for La Poste in France.
What is your job at La Poste, Mr Marcelli?
As the person in charge of the deployment of La Poste’s recharging infrastructures nationwide, I manage the implementation of these infrastructures according to the specific needs of each site. I also work with and train a team of La Poste technicians to follow the technical studies of this deployment.
The electrification of La Poste’s fleet of vehicles is part of a series of actions that you are carrying out in favour of ecology. Can you tell us more about the various actions undertaken by La Poste in this matter?
La Poste has been involved in the ecological transition for more than 20 years and has, in fact, implemented several actions in this sense. First of all, we have introduced ecological delivery via the use of clean and non-polluting vehicles such as bicycles, electric cars or scooters, or those impulsed by natural gas. In addition to reducing the pollution generated by the transport of goods, we also aim to optimise EV charging and make transport more efficient. La Poste has also implemented the “La Poste ecological score” by monitoring the various stages when sending or receiving a letter or parcel: kind of packaging, postage, methods of delivery, etc. This score allows everyone to take action, and enables everyone to collaborate with La Poste to choose the most environmentally friendly shipping solutions. As regards the electrification of our fleet, the arrival of the ZFE-m is encouraging us to fully decarbonise our business, particularly in 44 major cities before 2025. We have launched a 2030 strategic plan, and La Poste Group will invest around 600 million euros, one third of which will be used to make the LCV fleet greener by 2025. An additional 8,000 electric LCVs should be acquired to reach a total of 15,000 electric LCVs.
Is it true that La Poste has the largest fleet of electric vehicles in Europe?
That’s right. At La Poste, we have the largest fleet of electric vehicles in France and Europe. We have from 35.000 to 40,000 light commercial vehicles, 7,000 of which are electric. Today, this fleet is made up of Renault Kangoo (33kW or 44kW) and Citroën E-JUMPY (50kW), but we also have many of our parcel subcontractors who electrify their fleets and need to recharge quickly at our sites during their rounds.
La Poste has been working with Circontrol since 2015 as a supplier of electric vehicle charging solutions. What can you tell about this partnership?
Besides supplying us with charging stations since 2015, Circontrol has been responsible for the installation and maintenance of the infrastructures through its partner DALKIA. But above all, Circontrol has always worked along with us in the choice of chargers and the systems related to them, in particular its dynamic power management system DLM, which they have been able to develop over time to enrich it with new features that meet our needs.
What models of EV chargers have been chosen at La Poste?
Initially, we chose single-phase (7.4 kW) and three-phase (22 kW) WB SMART devices. These chargers are connected and can be monitored by OCPP via a wired Internet connection or 3G/4G modem. They can also be installed in pole or wallbox format. It is a very robust and proven design, which we are delighted with in our daily use. Its robustness meets our needs because, although some operators must handle the equipment with force, this has no impact on the lifetime of the infrastructure. The choice of power, mainly 7.4 kW, suits us because our vehicles can be parked for a long time (especially at night). In addition to AC charging, we are now considering DC charging for our parcel service providers. However, from 2023 and on we are opting for the eNext range of charging stations (Park and Elite), which have more features than the WB Smart, in particular WiFi connectivity, time slot management and the possibility of upgrading to future versions of the OCPP protocol. For some sites we have also opted for the eVolve Smart range (POST eVolve Smart) and we are also considering the installation of faster DC chargers to allow our parcel partners to charge in less time.
What made you make the decision to install the DLM system in addition to Circontrol’s charging stations in your facilities?
Circontrol’s DLM system allows us to control the power available in the mail sorting centres. We can set a maximum amount of energy which must not be exceeded and also link it to the power consumption of the building in real time, in order to dynamically modulate the power at the charging points. We have also defined prioritisation rules for some of our vehicles, so that they can be charged by time slots according to the needs of our employees. The DLM is a local solution that does not rely on remote monitoring and allows us to have a robust system that does not rely on mobile connectivity or the local internet network, which is a real advantage.