Is the United States Postal Service Going Electric?

The United States Postal Service is starting the slow process of switching out its old Grumman LLV mail trucks for the Oshkosh Next Generation Delivery Vehicle. The NGDV won the contract and USPS finally placed an order. Meaning that we could start seeing new mail trucks on the street starting in 2023. The Oshkosh NGDV has not been without controversy, but even so, it is still an exciting truck. Especially considering the fact that this delivery vehicle has the ability to come outfitted with an electric powertrain.

Is the Oshkosh NGDV an EV?

The Oshkosh NGDV does have the ability to come equipped with an electric powertrain. Currently, there is an order out for 50,000 NGDV models. Now, not all of these vehicles will be EVs, which is a slight disappointment. Of the 50,000 NGDV mail trucks ordered by USPS, about 20% will be EVs. That is higher than the initial number, but it has not stopped agencies such as the EPA from criticizing the postal service.

 

The USPS has announced it will be revisiting its environmental impact statement on the NGDV. And that could mean that more electric mail trucks will be ordered. Still, even though a majority of these vehicles will have a combustion engine, they are certainly more modern than the Grumman LLV truck. 

Why does the new mail truck look funny?

It’s not hard to notice that the NGDV has a funny look about it. According to MotorTrend, that dorky look is for a reason. USPS had strict requirements for its new mail truck, and well, the Oshkosh NGDV meets those needs. This is a purpose-built vehicle, designed for delivering mail. So, it makes sense that it may look funny. 

An Oshkosh NGDV mail truck delivers the mail.
Oshkosh Next Generation Delivery Vehicle | Oshkosh Defense

The NGDV is not based on something like a Ford Transit, it was built from the ground up. This is fairly similar to what Grumman did with the old LLV. And the method allowed Oshkosh Defense to secure the USPS contract for its new delivery vehicles. 

Is USPS getting a new mail truck?

Back in 2015, the postal service announced that it was in search of a new mail truck. By 2016, six different suppliers were allowed to move forward in pursuit of the contract. Come February of 2021, Oshkosh prevailed in winning the bid and began work on the NGDV. This mail truck is being built in Spartanburg, South Carolina, which did ruffle some feathers. 

A USPS mail truck sits in a local neighborhood.
Grumman LLV | IFCAR

USPS committed $428 million to Oshkosh Defense to get the NGDV finalized. It is worth noting that the Biden Administration did issue an executive order mandating that government vehicles need to be all-electric by 2035. 

This is where the controversy comes in because the postal service still has a majority of its mail trucks being ordered with combustion engines. By design, the United States Postal Service has more autonomy over other government agencies. Postmaster General DeJoy stated that if the agency’s budget is increased, more EV mail trucks can be ordered. But it is still unclear what exactly is going to happen.

RELATED: Looking Back on the Grumman LLV Mail Truck