The United States Postal Service said Tuesday that it had given Oshkosh Defense a contract to build its next mail truck. The new truck is significantly bigger than the one we’ve all seen on the road for decades, and it looks significantly different from the one we saw tested a couple of years ago.
The contract is for 10 years, part of the USPS’s plan to replace its fleet of 230,000 vehicles. I’m sure you’re wondering at this point whether these will be internal combustion or battery-electric designs. The answer is: both, though it’s not clear how many of each.
Under the contract’s initial $482 million investment, Oshkosh Defense will finalize the production design of the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) — a purpose-built, right-hand-drive vehicle for mail and package delivery — and will assemble 50,000 to 165,000 of them over 10 years. The vehicles will be equipped with either fuel-efficient internal combustion engines or battery electric powertrains and 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.
The new vehicles will also have a lot of advanced safety features that the current fleet doesn’t have. And, big news for carriers: They will have air-conditioning. (Most of today’s postal delivery trucks lack that amenity.)
The NGDV vehicles will include air conditioning and heating, improved ergonomics, and some of the most advanced vehicle technology — including 360-degree cameras, advanced braking and traction control, air bags, a front- and rear-collision avoidance system that includes visual, audio warning, and automatic braking. The vehicles will also have increased cargo capacity to maximize efficiency and better accommodate higher package volumes stemming from the growth of eCommerce.
And here’s a helpful infographic from the USPS:
The USPS said that the initial batch of these new trucks is planned to hit the road in 2023. The news is a pretty big get for Oshkosh, and a pretty big miss for Workhorse, the company most famous for its association with former President Donald Trump. Workhorse’s stock was down 47 percent in afterhours trading as of this writing.