Are Mail Trucks All-Wheel Drive?
Mail trucks have one of the most important jobs in the United States. Ensuring that the United States Postal Service can get mail and packages delivered. These delivery vehicles are expected to work in all kinds of environments, so it makes sense that they would have all-wheel drive, right? Well, it might surprise you to learn that the Grumman LLV, USPS’s current mail truck, is not AWD. It is actually a rear-wheel drive truck.
Is the Grumman LLV AWD?
Although the Grumman LLV is expected to work in everything from sunshine to heavy snow, it is not AWD. Because of that, mail carriers who work in winter climates must deal with driving a RWD vehicle even when the road conditions are miserable. If you have ever dealt with driving a RWD truck in winter, you likely understand the difficulties that come with that. So, it might be confusing why USPS opted for a vehicle that is not AWD. But according to AutoTrader, that is exactly what this agency did.
The Grumman LLV does actually borrow some components from an SUV with four-wheel drive. It uses the rear axle from the 4WD S-10 Blazer. But its front wheels are borrowed from the S-10 Blazer with two-wheel drive. Another factor that can get in the way of driving through snow is the LLV’s low ground clearance. Sure, it drives fine in warmer climates, but it’s a different story for mail that needs to be delivered up north.
Why are mail trucks RHD?
If you are familiar with USPS mail trucks, you may have noticed that the driver sits on the opposite side compared to typical vehicles in the United States. This is to help mail carriers efficiently deliver the mail.
With the right-hand drive configuration, the driver is placed closest to the curb. And if your job is to constantly get in and out of your vehicle, that is a clear benefit. In fact, the Grumman LLV is not the only RHD vehicle employed by the USPS. For rural mail carriers, Jeep still sells a RHD Wrangler. This means those who deliver the mail on rough roads can do so with confidence.
Is USPS getting new trucks?
Back in 2015, the Postal Service announced that it would begin the search for new mail trucks. In 2021, the contract for new USPS trucks was awarded to Oshkosh Defense. Known as the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle, or NGDV, this truck will be replacing the aging Grumman LLV.
Now, the process of getting here has not been a simple one. The NGDV encountered quite a bit of controversy as a new mail truck. For starters, one of the major reasons that the USPS began looking for a new truck was to find something that was more efficient. And with its gasoline engine, the Oshkosh NGDV is not that much more efficient than the Grumman LLV.
The NGDV can come with an electric powertrain. But, according to NPR, only a fraction of the initial NGDV orders were for the EV model. Recently, that did change. The Postal Service upped its EV order by nearly half. And that should help the United States Postal Service operate more efficiently. Plus, mail carriers are likely to appreciate the addition of air conditioning along with modern safety features.