Why the US Postal Service is sticking with ICE vans: Here’s the remainder of the story


The world goes wild for electrical automobiles, however not for the US Postal Service.

Agency said earlier this week It is shifting ahead with plans to interchange its present mail vans with a brand new fleet powered virtually fully by inner combustion engines. The $6 billion contract with protection contractor Oshkosh requires as much as 165,000 mail vans to be delivered over the following 10 years. Vehicles get between 8.6 and 14.7 mpg.

The determination has been met with dismay by many, together with the EPA, which has repeatedly talked in regards to the results of gasoline-based fleets on the surroundings.

But though it’s clear that the EPA and President Joe Biden’s administration consider such vans have dangerous results, any debate over what to purchase is assured to be the end result we’ve now.

The Postal Service’s technique of contemplating such a big buy started in 2015, at a time when EVs had been nonetheless thought-about a distinct segment curiosity. There was no argument that mail vans constructed by Grumman and often called Long Life Vehicles had been in dire want of alternative. This want is big in the present day due to the numerous dangers most Americans are unaware of.

Many LLVs are nonetheless on the street in the present day, with no airbags, no air-conditioning, and are more and more inclined to fireside. They don’t have anything like trendy driver security options.

When the company opened the competitors for bids seven years in the past, few folks had been speaking about battery-powered automobiles or vans at giant. we had been nonetheless greater than a full 12 months away Tesla unveils Model 3 sedan, General Motors Only the idea model of the Chevrolet Bolt was proven on the CES present. Rivian was deep in stealth mode. EVs had been glorified go-karts within the minds of most Americans.

The Postal Service emphasised its want for an “alternative fuel vehicle” within the preliminary proposals and obliged among the unique opponents. Turkish truck maker Carson examined hybrid vans in partnership with Michigan van builder Morgan Olsen, and so did Indian automaker Mahindra. Others, comparable to Humvee-makers AM General and Oshkosh, remained targeted on fuel engines, however promised enhancements in gasoline effectivity.

Only one staff provided a real battery-powered resolution, however that too wasn’t all-electric: truck physique maker VT Hackney was working with a startup referred to as Workhorse, principally outfitted with a small range-extending gasoline engine. There was a prototype of an electrical mail truck.

By the time the USPS requested for closing proposals in late 2019, the AM basic was out. Mahindra adopted quickly after. VT Hackney conceded defeat. Workhorse – which survived on a eating regimen of hedge fund debt and spinouts together with Lordstown Motors – purchased out its associate and continued to develop as the only electric-first choice.

In the ultimate proposal spherical, Oshkosh radically reworked its bid and offered a special design from what it had spent years testing – one that might theoretically work with a gas- or battery-powered drivetrain. Was.

The six years spent by the USPS searching for replacements noticed a dramatic change within the auto trade. Tesla shipped the Model 3 and Model Y, Ford Motor Company launched the Mustang Mach-E, and Volkswagen Group and its manufacturers started promoting EVs. But the factor in regards to the authorities procurement course of is that after it’s operational, it’s gradual and sophisticated by numerous paperwork.

Oshkosh was Contract awarded in February 2021, simply weeks after President Biden took workplace and promised to impress your complete authorities fleet. Workhorse challenged the award in federal court docket, the place a number of particulars emerged about Oshkosh’s last-minute change; It ultimately dropped the matter.

The USPS has spent the previous 12 months resisting allegations from the general public, lawmakers, and workhorses—that it unfairly awarded contracts, broke its personal procurement guidelines, and tried sufficient to discover a actually inexperienced various. didn’t do. Thanks to the secretive nature of the competitors, which requires bidders to signal non-disclosure agreements, there may be little we all know in regards to the course of.

The determination to attend till the postal service breaks down earlier than contemplating changing Grumman LLV is one issue that will get ignored. If the company had acted earlier, it could be in a greater place to begin a brand new bidding course of now, when a spread of firms are able to compete to construct an environmentally pleasant fleet.

Instead the company is promising that simply 10 % of the brand new fleet will likely be EVs. It can also be decreasing the theoretical choice of changing to new gas-powered vans at a later date.

This week’s information has created an outcry for the choice to be modified. But tomorrow new vans are wanted. Any delay might put extra postal staff in danger.


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