Australia Post commits new electric delivery vehicle prototype to eight-week Hamilton trial

It has three wheels, can travel up to 45 kilometres per hour, is electrically powered, and can deliver three times more letters and parcels in a single run than the average postie bike.

And it's making the rounds at Hamilton for the next eight weeks.

Steven Richards - a long-time postie of 15 years - is the man at the wheel of the new, Swiss-made trial vehicle, designed to deliver greater volumes of letters and, more importantly, parcels to local homes.

"I love the idea of the electric vehicle - the quietness. The Post is always trying to move forward," he said.

Continued growth in online shopping and declining letter volumes has meant that parcel deliveries have come to account for the majority of Australia Post's total revenue.

Formerly, parcels represented a relatively thin slice of the revenue pie - around 25 percent - but over the past decade, that number has ballooned to more than 70 percent.

Meanwhile, letter volumes have nearly halved.

"As our business transforms, so too are the jobs that our workforce are doing," NSW manager Colin Hindle said.

"A few years ago, we equipped our posties so they can deliver small parcels and this latest initiative allow them to deliver even more - helping to ensure they roles remain meaningful well into the future."

The Newcastle trial follows an earlier run at Hobart, while the e-vehicles have already been used in Germany and Switzerland as international postal authorities move towards greater carrying capacity, improved driver safety, and lower emission vehicles.

The new three-wheeler is slightly slimmer than the traditional postie bike, has a 10-hour battery life, and can travel on both the road and footpath.

"We still give way, pull to the side, and make sure [everyone] has plenty of room," Mr Richards said.

"Newcastle is the first regional, non-capital that it has been to," Newcastle MP Sharon Claydon said.

The trial was a neat fit for the city, which has a "strong electric vehicle culture," Ms Claydon added.

"I think having an EV for Australia Post is a great addition to what is already a growing culture here in Newcastle."

The vehicle can carry up to 1200 letters and 100 small parcels in a single load - around 195 kilograms in weight.

Pending the trial's outcome, Australia Post has indicated it will identify "suitable areas across our network" to integrate the new vehicles with the traditional delivery stable.