The 1987-era trucks used by the U.S. Postal Service to deliver mail will be replaced soon, and a lot more of them will be electric vehicles, the agency announced this week. The USPS had said in February that it would buy up to 165,000 New Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) trucks, which were custom-designed for postal use by Oshkosh Defense after a drawn-out bidding process to replace the USPS's aging fleet. At that time, the plan was that only about 10 percent of the new vehicles would be EVs. That announcement brought criticism—along with lawsuits from 16 states and environmental groups—because of the terrible fuel economy (less than 9 mpg) these new trucks were expected to achieve. Now the USPS has changed its plan and says that at least 50 percent of its new purpose-built trucks will be EVs.
The Postal Service gave lack of money as a reason for originally declining to invest in electric trucks. Fiscal responsibility is also the reason given for limiting the initial number of NGDV trucks it will buy to 50,000. Meanwhile, the USPS plans to purchase 34,500 additional "off-the-shelf" commercial vehicles over a two-year period. These will include "as many BEVs as are commercially available and satisfy operational needs," according to a statement today. Using this formula, in the end the new postal fleet is expected to consist of about 40 percent EVs.
The public comment period has been extended until August 15 to allow people to respond to the latest plan, and a virtual hearing on August 8 is open to the public.