We’ve been hearing about the new USPS mail trucks for what seems like years, but the government agency is only just getting into the ordering process for the funky delivery vehicles. Earlier this week, the USPS stated that it would double the number of electric delivery vehicles it would order, following pushback from the White House and the public.
Under sustained pressure from the White House to embrace all-electric vehicles, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has reportedly opted to more-than double its initial order of EVs. Considering the agency's previous concerns that electric vehicles might not be well suited to rural communities and would be too expensive to field en masse, this is an unexpected turn of events.
On Thursday, The UAW and a group of environmental groups based in the United States filed numerous lawsuits in an effort to block the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) from moving forward with plants to purchase gasoline-powered next-gen delivery vehicles (NGDVs) from Oshkosh Defense. The suits are being launched on the grounds that the USPS failed to comply with environmental regulations and went back on an earlier promise to field all-electric variants.
They’re supported by the White House — which launched an initiative to convert the entire federal fleet into battery electric vehicles last year — and congressional Democrats that were angered after the Postal Service went against the Biden administration’s request to prioritize EVs. The president and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) even went so far as to request that the USPS to hold off on the $11.3 billion contract with Oshkosh so electric options can be reevaluated. However, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has repeatedly stated that it’s not realistic to field a significant number of electric vehicles and that the mail service would need additional funding from the government to consider such a move.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) has been under pressure from the White House to replace its aging fleet with all-electric vehicles. But it’s looking like mail carriers will continue doing their jobs in oddly shaped trucks that burn gasoline.
While the Biden administration’s green agenda calls for government fleets to begin transitioning to EVs, the USPS had already decided to purchase 165,000 examples of the Oshkosh Defense NGDV that’s dependent upon liquid fuel. Despite the contractor saying trucks could be converted into battery electric vehicles and/or hybrids, the vast majority will be wholly reliant on internal combustion. The USPS has decided that it’s just not cost-effective or practical to do anything else and no amount of pressure from the White House will be changing its mind.
Money on the other hand…
Last spring, the United States Postal Service announced that it would finally be replacing its fleet of Grumman Long Life Vehicles (LLVs) that have more than lived up to their name. Having entered into service in 1987 to replace the Dispatcher Jeep, the LLV is scheduled to be replaced by 150,000 new mail trucks from Oshkosh Defense. While the government originally wanted to use an all-electric platform, it was believed that rural routes probably required an internal combustion vehicle. Preexisting government contracts with Oshkosh likely made it a compelling manufacturer, though it annoyed some of the smaller candidates. Workhorse even sued the USPS last summer for not selecting its hideous entrant, though the official complaint was that the government hadn’t given EVs a fair shake.
That now appears to be changing because the Biden administration and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have asked USPS to hold off on the $11.3 billion contract with Oshkosh so electric options can be reevaluated.
Despite the United States Postal Service (USPS) having recently finalized its plan to award Oshkosh Defense a $482 million contract to replace its ramshackle fleet with sparkly new Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDV), Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said it could only afford to make 10 percent of the fleet electric. The USPS would allegedly need another 3 or 4 billion dollars in government assistance to make BEVs happen in meaningful numbers and some lawmakers seem happy to oblige.
A bill sponsored by House Representative Jared Huffman (a California Democrat), introduced on Monday, seeks to allocate $6 billion to increase the number of EVs used by the USPS — with the stipulation that at least 75 percent of the motor pool be zero-emission vehicles. The original plan estimated expenditures of roughly $6.3 billion over the duration of the 10-year program to modernize the United States’ postal fleet. But the service ultimately decided to go with Oshkosh’s internal combustion model, rather than the electric prototypes offered by other manufacturers.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) has revealed its new mail truck after a 6-year competition, selecting the duck-billed option from Wisconsin-based defense contractor Oshkosh. Its Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) will officially replace the Grumman Long Life Vehicle (LLV) starting in 2023. Though the LLV spent the last 20 years being gradually supplanted by anything large enough to haul a bag of mail, it’s technically the last vehicle commissioned for use by the USPS.
Sadly, the postal service’s decision also represents a major loss for Ohio-based Workhorse. Its battery electric W-15 seemed to represent the government’s greener ambitions and was capable of 80-mile journeys before a gasoline-powered range extender kicks on. While a smart design, we think the manufacturer would have been better served by having ties to the military, like Oshkosh and Grumman. Workhorse’s share price has been falling ever since news broke that the USPS wouldn’t be needing its services, however analysts are under the impression that it will eventually rebound.
Mahindra, the company that produces the intentionally Jeep-like Roxor, is looking at sites in Detroit, Oakland County, and Genesee County in the event that it lands a $6 billion contract to supply the U.S. Postal Service with delivery vehicles.
While USPS has already begun supplementing the now-ancient Grumman LLV with more-modern vans and utility vehicles, it launched an official search for a replacement in 2015. Mahindra was one of the finalists, along with AM General, Karsan, Oshkosh-Ford, Utilimaster, and VT Hackney.
The Postal Service plans on making a final decision this summer as to who will build some 180,000 replacement vehicles over the next six years.
A United States Postal Service employe was charged with hoarding thousands of pieces of undelivered mail on Thursday. The bulk of the load, which ended up being crammed into his Nissan Pathfinder, was comprised of more than 10,000 letters — a true testament to the vehicle’s nearly 80 square-feet of cargo space. However, more items were found stashed in his work locker and apartment. According to court documents, Aleksey Germash’s alleged dereliction of duty resulted in at least 17,000 pieces of mail going undelivered.
Earlier this month, the USPS’ Office of Inspector General received tip that there was an SUV parked in Brooklyn stuffed with mailbags. When Postal Service agents went to investigate, they found 20 blue post office bags holding mail intended for delivery to New York residents.
The United States Postal Service put out a call for bids for a new delivery vehicle to replace its aging Grumman LLV a couple of years ago. We haven’t heard much about the process since then, other than the fact that the USPS secured funding and selected five finalists.
We recently uncovered a NHTSA filing submitted by Mahindra Automotive North America that may give us a better idea of what we can expect for the future mail truck.
Mahindra filed VIN documentation for 10 configurations of their version of the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle in May of this year. The document shows two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, gasoline and mild hybrid versions as required by the USPS bid.
The early eighties was the most revolutionary and unique time in the American automobile industry ever. Thanks to exploding oil and fuel prices, and with the expectation that the increases would continue indefinitely, for the only time ever Americans embraced radical downsizing with a fervor. It was as if the US was finally joining the rest of the world. Of course, it didn’t last; as soon as oil prices started dropping, everyone quickly forgot the whole episode, and the truck/SUV boom soon exploded. But for a few short years, it was out with the big, in with the small. The little relics from that era are becoming hard to find: K-Car limousines, Chevy Sprints, Diesel Rabbits (no worries; I have). And some of them I’d forgotten ever existed, like this tiny FWD diesel KubVan.
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