USPS orders equal numbers of electric and gas-powered delivery vehicles

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by Emily Atkins

The United States Postal Service announced plans to buy 18,500 new vehicles. Half will be commercially available battery electric vans, and half will be internal combustion engine vans.

Ford won the contract for the BEVs. The 9,250 Ford E-Transit vans will start arriving in December this year, the postal service said in a release.

More than 14,000 charging stations will be installed at Postal Service facilities to refuel the vans. Three companies have been awarded the contracts for the stations and related software.

The contract depends on the postal service completing an environmental impact statement.

These awards are part of the vehicle electrification strategy announced by USPS in December of 2022, accompanied by senior White House officials. The December 2022 plan announced intended acquisitions over the next five years of a 75 percent electric fleet of Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDV). After 2026 new purchases will be 100 percent electric.

In March 2022 USPS announced a purchase order of 50,000 NGDV from Oshkosh Defense, of which 20 percent are to be BEVs.

The postmaster general, Louis DeJoy said fleet electrification is an important part of the organization’s plans to improve service, reduce cost, and build revenue.

USPS will also award a contract for 9,250 commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) internal combustion engine vehicles to fill the urgent need for vehicles.

Environmental group Earth Justice said in a statement that the Postal Service should have finished its environmental review before sinking millions into combustion mail trucks that will pollute neighborhoods for decades.

Adrian Martinez, deputy managing attorney of Earthjustice’s Right to Zero Campaign called the purchase “a foolish waste of funds on gas-guzzling mail trucks”, and suggested the United States should only invest in electric vehicles.

Overall, the Postal Service’s total expenditure in vehicles is expected to reach US$9.6 billion.

The specific locations for the EVs and infrastructure will depend on route characteristics, including whether a left-hand drive vehicle is suitable. The Postal Service plans to begin building out its charging infrastructure across at least 75 locations within the next 12 months.

The Postal Service anticipates that by 2028 it will have purchased 66,230 electric delivery vehicles and 106,000 delivery vehicles in all.