The U.S. Postal Service has announced plans for an initial order of 5,000 electric vehicles for its new fleet of mail trucks after President Biden and the EPA criticized the USPS last week for not including enough zero-emissions trucks in its upcoming $6.3 billion renewal program.
The independent government agency has contracted with Oshkosh Defense to supply 50,000 to 165,000 Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDV) that will replace the familiar Grumman LLV that has been in service for three decades. The NGDV is designed to accommodate both internal combustion and electric powertrain.
The USPS had previously said it aims to electrify 10% of its entire fleet of 230,000 vehicles in the coming years but that transitioning to a fully electric model would cost an additional $3.3 billion that is outside its budget, which is typically funded by the sale of its products and services without additional tax dollars.
"Our commitment to an electric fleet remains ambitious given the pressing vehicle and safety needs of our aging fleet as well as our dire financial condition," said Postmaster General and USPS Chief Executive Officer Louis DeJoy. "The proposed action, which we are evaluating under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), includes an initial order plan for 5,000 electric vehicles, and the flexibility to increase the number of electric vehicles introduced should additional funding become available."
"Absent such funding, we must make fiscally responsible decisions that result in the needed introduction of safer and environmentally cleaner vehicles for the men and women who deliver America’s mail."
In response to a report that the NGDV only achieves a fuel efficiency of 8.6 mpg in typical use, compared to the Grumman's 8.2 mpg, the USPS pointed out that the comparison was flawed because it was conducted with the NGDV using its air conditioning system, which the LLV does not have. With it turned off, the NGDV achieves 14.7 MPG, according to the USPS.
The NGDV is being built on a unique platform at a factory in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and uses a Ford-supplied engine and transmission.