In 2021, the United States Postal Service selected a new delivery vehicle to replace its fleet of aging Grumman LLVs. However, the USPS drew immediate criticism, as the vast majority of the 165,000 potential next-generation vehicles that will be built by Oshkosh Defense will not be electric.
But on Wednesday, the USPS changed its mind and said it would now limit its purchase of NGDV to 50,000 NGDV, at least half of which will be battery-powered vehicles. Additionally, it says it will purchase 34,500 off-the-shelf commercial vehicles, “including several commercially available electric vehicles compatible with our delivery profile” according to the federal registry.
The NGDV from Oshkosh is designed to be fitted with either an internal combustion engine or a battery-powered electric motor. When the USPS first selected NGDV, it said only 10 percent of the demand would be for BEV mail trucks — Postmaster Louis DeJoy defended poverty on behalf of the Postal Service, which he said could not buy more BEVs.
This did not sit well with the White House or the US Environmental Protection Agency, especially since EPA analysis determined that diesel-powered NGDVs would only be capable of 8.6 mpg (28.86 l/100 km) when used with air conditioning, barely better than their fleet Present.
The USPS rejected this analysis and said that if NGDVs were operated without air conditioning, the trucks averaged 14.7 mpg (16.0 l/100 km).
In March, the USPS placed an initial order for 50,000 NGDVs, with a 20 percent more ambitious plan going to be BEVs, it said. But in April, 16 states and several environmental groups sued the Postal Service that challenged the USPS’s rapid environmental review that it used to justify the purchase of several NGDV diesels despite ever-worsening climate change.
Now the USPS says it will limit its purchases of NGDVs to 50,000 vehicles and that at least half of them will be BEVs. The first NGDV is scheduled to enter service in late 2023. But it also says it wants to buy 20,000 left-hand-drive COTS, “including several commercially available BEVs that are compatible with our delivery profile.” In addition, it will buy up to 14,500 right-hand drive vehicles, but all of them will be powered by internal combustion engines. The USPS says the COTS purchase will be spread out over two years.
However, there is bad news, too, that the USPS will keep 50,000 low-cost vehicles ineffective in service, “despite the significant operational risks, significant maintenance costs, and higher emissions of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants when compared to more modern vehicles.”
Listing image by USPS