U.S. Postal Service Places Massive Order for Cleaner Next-Gen Delivery Vehicles

In February, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) announced that it had awarded U.S. company Oshkosh Defense an ‘indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity’ (IDIQ) contract to produce the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV). This is the USPS’s first large-scale fleet procurement in three decades and allows for the delivery of between 50,000 and 165,000 vehicles over a period of 10 years.

Oshkosh will manufacture both zero emission battery electric vehicles (BEV) and fuel-efficient low-emission internal combustion engine vehicles (ICE) and will be able to be retrofitted to keep pace with advances in electric vehicle technologies.

The design of the new NGDV is certainly unusual. It’s not exactly pretty, but clearly aimed at being spot-on for the job for which it will be built. It will include air conditioning (something that, reportedly, the vehicles it will replace do not), air bags, improved ergonomics, plus 360-degree cameras, advanced braking and traction control, a front-and rear-collision avoidance system that includes visual, audio warnings, and automatic braking. The vehicles will also have increased cargo capacity to better accommodate higher package volumes stemming from the growth of eCommerce. The purpose-built NGDV will also be right-hand-drive, making it easier for drivers to drop off packages.

While the replacement of the USPS fleet has been in discussion for some time, the Oshkosh deal comes on the heels of the announcement in January that the U.S. Government would look to replace its entire fleet of vehicles with clean energy alternatives.

While announcing his ‘Buy American’ executive order (aimed at tightening government requirements around
buying U.S.-made products), President Joe Biden said, “The federal government . . . owns an enormous fleet of vehicles, which we are going to replace with clean electric vehicles made right here in America by American workers creating a million autoworker jobs in clean energy and vehicles that are net zero emission. This will be the largest mobilisation of public investment in procurement, infrastructure and R&D since WWII.”

This is a very big deal. The U.S. Government fleet numbers nearly 650,000 vehicles that cover billions of kilometres each year and consume hundreds of millions of litres of fuel. The investment might by huge, but the environmental/clean air/fuel efficiency savings would be eually massive and the stimulus that such a gigantic commitment will make to the EV/hybrid/fuel cell sectors will surely be massive too.

“Our fleet modernisation also reflects the Postal Service’s commitment to a more environmentally sustainable mix of vehicles,” said Postmaster General and USPS Chief Executive Officer Louis DeJoy. “Because we operate one of the largest civilian government fleets in the world, we are committed to pursuing near-term and long-term opportunities to reduce our impact on the environment.”

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