- The US Postal Service has selected a contractor to build its next-generation of mail trucks.
- The first of the new vehicles will hit roads in 2023, the agency said.
- Oshkosh Defense will produce up to 165,000 new trucks, including electric and gas-powered versions.
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The US Postal Service on Tuesday revealed its next-generation of mail trucks, the biggest step in a fleet-modernization effort years in the making. The agency awarded the long-awaited contract to build the new vehicles to defense contractor Oshkosh Defense.
Under the deal, the postal service will pay Oshkosh $US482 ($609) million to finish designing the futuristic-looking truck – called the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) – and build between 50,000 and 165,000 of them over the next decade. The first ones will hit streets in 2023, the postal service said.
For several years, the post office has planned to revamp its fleet and phase out its problematic, aging vehicles. The barebones Northrop Grumman trucks widely used today don’t have air conditioning, compelling one mail carrier to cook a steak on a truck’s sweltering dashboard to draw attention to the problem.
The post office says the new trucks will have air conditioning, heating, better ergonomics, and more cargo room than outgoing vehicles. They’ll also be equipped with safety features like 360-degree cameras, collision-avoidance, automatic braking, and traction control. Oshkosh will build some of the trucks with electric powertrains and others with “fuel-efficient internal combustion engines” that can later be retrofitted to electric. The USPS did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment as to why it isn’t planning to make all the new trucks electric, which would align with President Joe Biden’s plan to electrify the entire federal government’s fleet.
Electric-vehicle and clean-energy groups were let down by the news that the USPS isn’t forging full-steam ahead on EVs.
“US Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is trying to lock our postal vehicle fleet into decades of carbon-intensive transportation,” Joe Britton, executive director of the Zero Emission Transportation Association, an advocacy organization, said in a statement.
Robbie Diamond, president of the nonprofit group Securing America’s Future Energy, expressed similar sentiments in a statement on Tuesday.
“It is disappointing that today’s announcement does not immediately commit to electrifying one of our nation’s largest vehicle fleets,” he said. “This contract is a golden opportunity to stimulate the domestic EV market and supply chain, and a commitment to electrifying the NGDV would provide a clear incentive for further domestic EV industry development along the entire supply chain, from minerals to markets.”
The Oshkosh contract comes as the first step in a multibillion-dollar, ten-year push to modernize and expand the Postal Service’s 230,000-vehicle fleet, the agency said. In addition to the custom-built NGDVs, the USPS will invest in new off-the-shelf commercial vehicles.