Royal Mail has started a trial of nine autonomous-ready, fully-electric trucks in London.

The nine vehicles, a combination of 3.5-, 6- and 7.5-tonnes are the first to be built by automotive technology firm Arrival in partnership with Royal Mail.

The trucks will be operating out of Royal Mail's Mount Pleasant depot in London, which has been fitted with specialist charging points, for "several months".

They will be used to transport packages between DCs in and around the city and have a zero-emission range of 100 miles.

Royal Mail said that between the lightweight materials used to build the vehicles and Arrival's electric power technology, the vehicles cost 50% less to run than its current fleet.

The trucks are autonomous-ready and comply with London mayor Sadiq Khan's Direct Vision Standard.

Royal Mail's fleet MD Paul Gatti said: “Royal Mail is delighted to be collaborating with Arrival and pioneering the adoption of large electric commercial vehicles. We will be putting them through their paces over the next several months to see how they cope with the mail collection demands from our larger sites.

“We have trialled electric trucks before but not of this innovative design and look forward to seeing what additional benefits they can bring to our existing fleet of 49,000 vehicles.”

Arrival CEO Denis Sverdlov said: “We are thrilled to partner with Royal Mail using our electric vehicles. Cities like London will benefit from a switch to electric, in terms of both pollution and noise.

"Most importantly we are priced the same as diesel trucks removing the main barrier to go electric."