As the United States Postal Service faces controversy over its new mail truck, the agency has apparently been testing other means of delivery as well. The USPS awarded the contract for the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle to Oshkosh Defense. And although the NGDV can be had as an electric mail truck, the majority of current orders are for trucks with traditional combustion engines.
These new mail trucks will replace the aging Grumman LLV, but they are not the only means of transportation that USPS is exploring. Recently, the Postal Service has been exploring the use of e-bikes to deliver the mail.
Is USPS testing bicycle delivery?
According to The Drive, USPS has been experimenting with the idea of using bicycles for delivery. In Florida, e-bikes have been tested in limited quantities, which is a pretty exciting idea. And, if these e-bikes go into mass use, they could help to reduce the environmental impact of this agency.
Now, in some areas, the Postal Service has already been using bikes, but this time it’s different. The electric bikes being tested are from the Montana-based company Coaster Cycles. The organization has been fairly quiet about these bikes, but four are currently being put through the paces to see if they can handle the demands of mail delivery.
How is the USPS testing bikes?
The USPS is currently testing e-bikes for delivery in the state of Florida. Four bikes are being tested, with two different models. Currently, the bikes use two batteries and come with a variety of safety features to help protect carries. These features include turn signals, brake lights, a rear-facing camera, and an alarm system, because of this, it is almost like these bikes are legitimate mail trucks.
Testing of e-bikes comes as the United States Postal Service explores how to refine its routes. E-bikes require less power and infrastructure when compared to traditional delivery vehicles, and there is potential for ease of service. Plus, there is something just plain cool about the idea of receiving a mail delivery via bicycle.
Now, you could not be blamed for wondering if e-bikes are even practical for delivering mail. But these new e-bikes can haul about 400 pounds in cargo. Because of this, electric bicycles very well may be the next mode of transportation in the United States Postal Service’s fleet.
Is the Postal Service going electric?
Because of an executive order issued by the Biden administration, government fleets are supposed to transition to zero-emission vehicles. USPS rubbed some folks the wrong way when Postmaster General DeJoy made a majority of orders of the Oshkosh NGDV to be gas-powered.
But, the agency has requested more EV mail trucks and Oshkoshk has stated that it is prepared to offer more EV models. E-bikes could be another piece of the puzzle to making the USPS more environmentally friendly, and undoubtedly bike delivery would do well in urban areas or where mail routes are not all that long.
Either way, big changes are coming to how the mail gets delivered. And while it is sad to see the Grumman LLV enter retirement, it is exciting to see the USPS enter the modern era.