By James Raia
After years of consideration and proposals, Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corp., has been awarded the contract to build the next fleet of mail trucks for the United States Postal Service.
Under the contract’s initial $482 million investment, Oshkosh Defense will finalize the production design of the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV). It’s a purpose-built, right-hand-drive vehicle for mail and package delivery. Oshkosh Defense will manufacture between 50,000 and 165,000 of the trucks in the next 10 years.
The new trucks will be significantly larger than the current fleet of 230,000 vehicles throughout the country. In addition, some of them will have internal combustion engines, others will have battery-electric systems. Further, the new design consists of a waist-high front hood. It resembles the beak of a duck in front of an extra-high windshield.
New mail truck: style and safety
The vehicles can be retrofitted to keep pace with advances in electric vehicle technologies. The initial investment includes plant tooling and build-out for the U.S. manufacturing facility where final vehicle assembly will occur.
Additional safety features will be a top priority in the new fleet, and the trucks will have air conditioning. Most current postal delivery trucks don’t have air conditioning.
The NGDV vehicles will also have heating, improved ergonomics and advanced vehicle technology. For example, it will include 360-degree cameras, advanced braking and traction control, as well as airbags. In addition, a front- and rear-collision avoidance system includes visual and audio warning and automatic braking. The trucks will also have increased cargo capacities. Plus, the back is tall enough for letter carriers to stand up in.
The USPS has used Grumman LLV mail trucks since the late 1980s. Some have been in service for more than 30 years.
Oshkosh Defense is based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. It is a global leader in the design, production and sustainment of best-in-class military vehicles and mobility systems. It develops and applies emerging technologies that advance troop safety and mission success.
Oshkosh Defense is now also in the mail service business. The first new vehicles are expected to begin deliveries in 2023.
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.