The next US Postal Service mail truck briefly set the internet slightly aflame, as it is a nice-looking, well-designed vehicle — enthusiasm that was only slightly diminished by the fact that Oshkosh Defense, which was awarded the mail truck contract, also makes machines of war. A bigger disappointment was that more of them wouldn’t be electric, as the USPS said just 10 percent of the new fleet would be electric.
Which is why three Democratic members of the House of Representatives said Tuesday they wanted to slam the brakes on the project, at least for now, until we can get the electric thing sorted. Oshkosh has said its internal combustion engine mail trucks could be converted to electric later, but one of the losing bidders, Workhorse, had offered an all-electric solution.
The USPS, meanwhile, said it simply couldn’t afford to make the whole fleet electric — which is why this week there has also been legislation introduced in the House to give them $6 billion to do just that. That legislation may or may not go anywhere — Congress has a lot on its plate at the moment — but the upshot of this is it seems like the saga will go on for a bit longer. Which is too bad for those of us who were hoping that federal government, and the U.S. Postal Service, in particular, could get something right on the first swing for once.
Reuters caught up Tuesday with Jared Huffman, a co-sponsor of the bill to give the USPS more money for EVs and also one of the Democratic representatives calling for a pause and possibly an investigation into the bidding process, who makes a good point.
“Why would you put us back on that treadmill? You are going to have built these vehicles for obsolescence,” Huffman told Reuters on Tuesday. “They will be the last vehicles running on fossil fuels on the road. It’s insane.”
If they are indeed the last fossil fuel vehicles on the road that would be following in the tradition of the current mail truck, the LLV, which gets between nine to ten miles per gallon and is an absolute relic.