The U.S. Postal Service really didn’t want battery-electric delivery trucks, but some White House pressure quelled that. Now, the first off-the-shelf Ford Transit EVs are carrying the mail.

The Postal Service also showed off its first set of electric vehicle charging stations at its South Atlanta Sorting and Delivery Center on Monday. The service plans hundreds of charging stations for what eventually will be the nation’s largest fleet of electric vehicles.

Modernizing the postal delivery fleet of aging and fire-prone Grumman LLVs comes from $3 billion in Inflation Reduction Act monies. In addition to replacing 165,000 vehicles over the next decade, alternating current chargers from Siemens, Rexel/ChargePoint and Blink 

capable of overnight charging will cover 66,000 EVs.

Postal Service initially committed to 10% electric vehicles

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy initially committed to just 10% of next-generation delivery vehicles being electrified. That flew in the face of President Joe Biden’s commitment to electrifying the federal government’s vehicle fleet. In addition to the Ford E-Transits, the Postal Service plans 45,000 more battery-electric vehicles by 2028.

“We are grateful for the support of Congress and the Biden administration through Inflation Reduction Act funding,” DeJoy said in a news release.

The bulk of the new delivery trucks will come from Oshkosh Corp., a surprise winner in a protracted bidding process that began in 2015. Oshkosh beat out Workhorse Group, which planned to make all-electric vehicles and build them at a former General Motors plant in northeast Ohio.

Workhorse shares skyrocketed in anticipation of the contract, then plummeted when the company lost out to Oshkosh, which has billions of dollars in U.S. defense contracts. Cincinnati-based Workhorse initially sued to overturn the award to Oshkosh but later gave up when new leadership took over the company.

Ford E-Transits lead Postal Service transition

The Postal Service ordered 9,250 Ford E-Transit vans in March while Oshkosh finishes its ground-up vehicle that will make up the bulk of the revamped postal delivery fleet. Some portion of those trucks will run on gasoline. But the Postal Service is open to going fully electric if it can find the money to pay for it.

“The improvements we need to achieve in sustainability are an integral outgrowth of the broader modernization efforts we have undertaken through our 10-year Delivering for America plan,” DeJoy said. 

“As we transform our operating processes and invest in new automation, new technologies, and upgraded facilities and vehicles, we will generate significant efficiencies that reduce our costs, slash our carbon footprint and minimize waste.” 

E-Transit: Cargo gains, air conditioning and safety features

The E-Transit features a 266-horsepower electric motor, rear-wheel drive and a 126-mile range. It is built in Kansas City, Missouri. The E-Transit has three times the cargo capacity of the Grumman vehicles, eliminating the need for many second trips that carriers take to deliver high volumes of packages.

The E-Transit also features air conditioning and advanced safety technology absent in the current delivery fleet.

Deployment of electric delivery trucks starts in Georgia and expands to other locations across the country throughout the year.

Related articles:

Lawmakers grill Postal Service on Oshkosh truck purchase

Workhorse sues Postal Service over delivery vehicle contract

Oshkosh beats Workhorse for Postal Service delivery vehicle contract 

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.

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