Discovered: Original Analysis on Electric Mail Trucks

The new USPS mail truck has not been without controversy. The agency has received criticism from the White House, Congress, and even environmental groups. All of this has led the Postal Service to double its order of EV mail trucks from Oshkosh Defense. Now, researchers from the University of Michigan claim that the original analysis on the Oshkosh NGDV was “significantly flawed.” Ultimately leading to the Postal Service’s downplay of the environmental benefits of electric mail trucks. 

USPS allegedly downplayed the environmental impact of EV mail trucks

Back in 2015, when the USPS announced it was in search of a vehicle to replace the aging Grumman LLV, it was unclear who would win the contract. But in 2021, it was announced that Oshkosh Defense would be building the new mail truck known as the Next-Generation Delivery Vehicle. 

The Oshkosh NGDV shows off its unique styling as a mail truck.
Oshkosh Next-Generation Delivery Vehicle | USPS

The Oshkosh NGDV comes with a number of benefits over the LLV. For starters, it offers more safety features and comfort. Better yet, it can also come equipped with an electric powertrain. But initially, the majority of trucks ordered were to come with a gasoline engine. 

According to U-M researchers, the reason for this was that the Postal Service was not honest about how EV mail trucks would reduce environmental impacts. According to Green Car Reports, this research resulted in vastly different conclusions than what the USPS initially found. 

How many mail trucks will be EVs?

When the USPS first put in its order for new mail trucks, only about 10% of those ordered were going to be EVs. But, after massive amounts of pressure, now 50% of NGDV models will come with an electric powertrain. 

A new USPS mail truck, the Oshkosh NGDV shows off its unique design.
Oshkosh Next Generation Delivery Vehicle | Oshkosh Defense

U-M researchers found that the United States Postal Service overestimated what emissions from an all-electric fleet would be. Apparently, emissions would actually be 8% lower than what USPS said. 

It’s unclear why the Postal Service might have been dishonest with its reporting on EV mail trucks. And it will be interesting to see if the agency releases a statement on the research conducted by U-M. Until then, it is probably good for the environment that the United States Postal Service cut down its order of gasoline-powered vehicles. 

Is USPS getting new mail trucks?

After years of service, the Grumman LLV is finally being replaced. The LLV was put into service nearly 30 years ago, so clearly, it’s time for an update. Oshkosh Defense is the company behind the new mail truck. It is known as the Oshkosh NGDV and can be had with either a gasoline engine or an electric powertrain. 

A USPS mail truck, the Grumman LLV, delivers mail. Is it AWD?
Grumman LLV | Carlos ZGZ

These new mail trucks should enter service at some point in 2023. And that means that your mail carrier could soon be making deliveries with an EV. Which is a pretty cool thing, to be honest. 

Because most of these vehicles function on a dedicated route, it makes sense that mail trucks would be EVs. They can be charged at the end of the day and then reenter service the next. Eliminating the need to fill up at the pump.

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