US Postal Service EV fleet taking shape with new contracts
The US Postal Service (USPS) is one step closer to building its fleet of more than 66,000 electric delivery vehicles under its US$9.6bn “Delivery for America” initiative which also includes connecting them to modern charging points at hundreds of postal facilities throughout the United States.
The federal government agency has just announced agreements with Ford Motor Co. and three electric vehicle (EV) charging companies. Besides acquiring 9,250 Ford E-transit vans, the agency will install 14,000 charging stations through contracts announced with Blink Charging, Siemens Industry Inc, and Rexel USA Energy Solutions.
Blink EV charging stations for businesses and EV drivers (courtesy of Blink Charging)
While the charging station agreements total $260 million, USPS announced just over $1 billion in vehicle acquisition contracts. The latter, however, does include an additional 9,250 internal combustion (ICE) vans from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) North America of the Stellantis Group.
With the Postal Service facing an outdated fleet of more than 220,000 vehicles, 106,000 new units known as Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDV) are planned for deliveries between 2023 and 2028. Besides USPS revenues, $3bn in funding from the federal government’s Inflation Reduction Act will help support the transition. More orders could follow thereafter.
To fill this urgent need, approximately one in four units will be ICE vehicles so gas-powered vehicles are still key, according to the Postal Service. While FCA will start shipping their vehicles by November (2023), Ford deliveries are expected from December onward.
As making the transition to EVs calls for building an ecosystem of connected charge points, several Postal Service facilities - including sorting and delivery centers - should start seeing charging infrastructure by the third quarter of 2023.
Oshkosh Defense Deal
As part of a USPS agreement under the National Environmental Policy Act, a purchase order of some 50,000 NGDVs (some of which are BEVs) was affirmed with US vehicle manufacturer Oshkosh Defense in early 2022. According to USPS, first Oshkosh NGDV deliveries under the $482mn 10-year deal should hit streets by December 2023.
Although having an EV fleet can lower operational costs, push sustainability, and increase brand recognition, it still poses many challenges, many of which can be overcome with the implementation of telematics and other connected vehicle solutions.
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Top Photo: Oshkosh Defense (left) and Ford E-transit (right) vehicles (courtesy of USPS)