The United States Postal Service placed a $2.98 billion order for 50,000 new delivery vehicles.
The order is part of the Postal Service’s Next Generation Delivery Vehicle program, an initiative to replace older vehicles with lower emission models.
“Postal Service makes good on our pledge to accelerate our electric vehicle strategy by increasing the quantity of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) as our financial condition improves and as we refine our network and vehicle operating strategy,” the federal agency said in its March 24 announcement.
USPS said it was able to identify 10.019 routes that would “present the best initial application for electric vehicles.”
U.S. Postmaster Louis DeJoy said that, while the initial plan was to have 10% of the new vehicles be electric, doubling that total “makes good sense from an operational and financial perspective.”
”Since I came on board a year and a half ago, we have continuously evaluated and adjusted our vehicle purchase strategy based on our future network initiatives, ongoing review of BEV application to our operational strategy, and our financial outlook as we undertake our ongoing implementation of the Delivering for America plan,” said DeJoy, who is also the USPS Chief Executive Officer.
DeJoy added, “Many of our 190,000 delivery vehicles on the road are more than 30 years old and lack basic safety features which are standard in most vehicles today. The safety of the men and women of the Postal Service is our number one priority, and they have waited long enough for the NGDV.”
“We will continue to look for opportunities to increase the electrification of our delivery fleet in a responsible manner, consistent with our operating strategy, the deployment of appropriate infrastructure, and our financial condition, which we expect to continue to improve as we pursue our plan,” said DeJoy.
The new mail delivery vehicles will have air conditioning, 360-degree cameras, advanced braking and traction control, and a front-and-rear-collision avoidance system as well as increased cargo capacity.
Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Defense will produce the new vehicles. The company was granted an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract from the USPS in February of 2023 to produce the NGDVs. Over 10 years, the company can deliver between 50,000 and 165,000 new vehicles.
“We are honored to have been selected by the USPS to support their important work by manufacturing American-made Next Generation Delivery Vehicles that will connect every home and business across the United States for decades to come,” said John Pfeifer, President & Chief Operating Officer, Oshkosh Corporation, in a statement.
The Postal Service is committed to paying Oshkosh Defense $482 million for engineering and factory build-out activities for the production of the vehicle.
A group of House Democrats asked the Postal Service Office of Inspector General to review the USPS’s multi-billion dollar purchase plan on March 14.
“Given the potential environmental impact of the (delivery vehicle) contract, it is crucial that the Postal Service conduct a robust environmental analysis prior to moving forward,” read a letter from the group, which includes House Oversight and Reform Committee chair Carolyn Maloney and Representatives Gerald Connolly, Jared Huffman, Stephen Lynch and Brenda Lawrence, per Reuters.
The new vehicles, including the EVs, are expected to be in operation by late 2023.