Holy crap. Like most Americans, I’ve been rendered into a state of near-constant excitement by the drama unfolding around the selection of the next-generation postal truck. Yesterday, we thrilled to the sight of a brutal-looking Turkish behemoth, the Karsan USPS prototype, and today, we have a surprise: unknown to anyone before, Ford appears to be in the game, too! Hot damn, now we have a fight.
Up until now, we’ve known that there’s been a number of companies developing vehicles for this very lucrative bill-and-boner-pill-delivery-vehicle contract. These include former mail truck maker AM General, Mahindra, Karsan, Oshkosh, and a lesser-known company called Workhorse.
No major U.S. automaker has been in the running, at least until these spy photos were released, showing, without a doubt, that Ford is involved. In this case, they’re partnered with Oshkosh.
The Ford connection on the Oshkosh Postal Truck is quite clear: the front end, most of the cab, headlights, grille, taillights, wheels—all of these bits are clearly from Ford’s Transit Cargo Van.
The basic Transit Cargo Van has been significantly enlarged from its original form, gaining an extended-height roof that looks to be at least a foot higher than normal. The transit has also sprouted a healthy collection of oversized mirrors on the front, and some massive black diving-board bumpers front and rear, along with protective black cladding all around the lower 1/6th or so of the truck.
So far, almost every prototype mail truck we’ve seen has been remarkably well armored like this. The post office must really be sick of dealing with minor fender-bender damage on their trucks.
The cab also gets a width expansion for the driver’s door, which extends out to form a sort of awning over the side entry door, perhaps as part of a track./hinge mechanism.
Out back is the expected full-height roll-up cargo door to give access to all the Amazon boxes lurking inside.
Interestingly, the Ford partnership has given this mail truck something unique—real custom-molded taillights. Nearly every other competitor is using simple, off-the-shelf generic rear light units.
It’s not clear how much the Post Office values this.
Remember, this is a six billion dollar contract at stake. And, even more importantly, we’ll have to look at these every day for decades. I hope we choose wisely.