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Still-proud USPS agrees to make more new trucks EVs

The United States Postal Service (USPS), still defiant against criticism for its pending new fleet of delivery trucks, has re-evaluated. It has diplomatically announced an increase in orders for electric mail trucks among its massive new truck agreement.

In its original agreement with contractor Oshkosh Defense, the USPS planned only 10 percent of its order as all-electric vehicles.

The pending new USPS truck fleet will include more EVs.
The pending new USPS truck fleet will include more EVs.

But last week, the USPS announced it was placing a $2.98 billion order for 50,000 of the new vehicles, with a minimum of 10,019 to be battery-electric.

The agency said the first of the new vehicles, officially called Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV), would start appearing on mail routes in 2023.

The EV share is slightly more than double the 5,000 units the USPS originally planned to order.

Explaining the change, the agency said it increased the number of EVs because of its improving financial outlook and a review of its operating strategy.

Officials have identified routes “that present the best initial application for electric vehicles.”

The number of EVs could be further increased “should additional funding become available from internal or other sources, and if the use case for BEVs [Battery Electric Vehicles] continues to improve,” the USPS said.

When the USPS first proposed new vehicles for the ancient delivery fleet, it was encouraged to choose electric trucks. The announcement of a primarily internal-combustion fleet drew significant criticism.

According to several reports, the USPS was pressured by Congress to increase the number of electric mail trucks.

The Biden administration aims to make all new light-duty vehicle purchases for the federal fleet electric by 2027. Likewise, all federal vehicle acquisitions will be electric by 2035.

In addition to reducing emissions, this could save taxpayers $4.6 billion by 2030, according to a 2021 report.

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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: james@jamesraia.com.

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