USPS doubles initial order of electric mail delivery trucks

The United States Postal Service announced its initial order for 50,000 next-generation delivery vehicles, 10,019 of which will be battery-electric vehicles. That’s a notable number given the agency’s resistance to calls for more electric vehicles in its future delivery fleet.

Originally, the Postal Service announced that it would buy 165,000 next-generation postal trucks, only 10% of which would be battery-electric vehicles. President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats urged the agency to increase the number of electric vehicles, but the USPS determined there was no legal reason to change its plans.

Now, the Postal Service says it will increase its initial order of electric vehicles from 5,000 to 10,019, determining that it “makes sense from an operational and financial perspective.”

“We owe it to our carriers and the communities we serve to provide safer and more efficient vehicles to fulfill our universal service obligation to deliver to 161 million addresses in all climates and topographies six days a week,” said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in a statement.

The question remains whether USPS will continue to buy electric vehicles. If the agency continues to purchase 165,000 vehicles under the contract with Oshkosh, it will still need to acquire an additional 6,500 electric vehicles to meet the 10% threshold.

The news comes after Congress approved a $50 billion bailout for the Postal Service, which has lost more than $90 billion since 2007. DeJoy proposed to drastically cut billions in funding and slow first-class mail deliveries as new standards.

The USPS and DeJoy, a Trump appointee, disagree with environmentalists over whether the agency’s fleet should be electrified. After a years-long bidding process, the USPS unveiled its next-generation mail truck, which will be manufactured by Oshkosh, in February 2021. They will replace current mail trucks that have been in service for more than two decades, which were built by defense contractor Grumman.

But in congressional testimony last year, DeJoy argued that the agency lacked the funds to buy more electric vehicles. Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency and the White House Council on Environmental Quality sent letters begging the Postal Service to reconsider its plans. President Joe Biden has attached much of his political legacy to a carbon-neutral federal government by 2050, promising to spend billions of dollars to buy electric vehicles, retrofit federal buildings and leverage the power of government to switch to cleaner forms of electricity. .

It remains to be seen if the USPS will eventually change its tone on electric vehicles. And it’s unclear whether Oshkosh, which is primarily a defense contractor, can meet demand, given the difficulty of the electric vehicle manufacturing process, supply chain disruptions and global shortages. of chips. The new electric trucks are not expected to be rolled out until 2023.


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