Electric vehicle startup Workhorse, the only company among three finalists to submit an all-electric delivery truck proposal, has filed an official protest after losing the bid to make the next U.S. Postal Service vehicle.
The U.S. Postal Service instead gave the contract in February to defense contractor Oshkosh. It said its new postal truck is designed to run on gas and electric drivetrains. The contract could be worth $6 billion.
The Ohio-based Workhorse filed a sealed bid protest in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. The result of the high-profile court fight could have an impact on how and when those vehicles switch over to electric power.
U.S. Postal Service: All electric?
President Joe Biden said he wants electric vehicles throughout the federal fleet.
“While we do not comment on active litigation, the United States Postal Service is looking forward to the start of vehicle production for our Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV),” Kim Frum, senior public relations representative for the USPS said in an email to The Verge. “Preproduction design, tooling, and facility preparation activities are proceeding on schedule with the first NGDVs estimated to appear on carrier routes in 2023.”
Oshkosh agreed to build between 50,000 and 165,000 new U.S. Postal Service delivery trucks throughout the next 10 years. The USPS says it needs billions more in funding from Congress to tip the balance of the fleet more toward electric.
According to TheVerge.com, Workhorse told the court that the document “contains confidential and proprietary source selection and proposal information” about its bid.
Oshkosh has said it is still finalizing the design of the new delivery trucks, and that they won’t hit the road until 2023. The USPS agreed to invest $482 million upfront to help ready the new vehicle.
The USPS began to discuss replacing the current mail truck in 2015 with a now long-defunct three-year plan. Some of the current mail delivery trucks are nearly 25 years old.
James Raia, a syndicated columnist in Sacramento, California, publishes a free weekly automotive podcast and electronic newsletter. Sign-ups are available on his website, www.theweeklydriver.com. He can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.