The U.S. Postal Service announced Thursday that it placed an order for 50,000 new mail trucks with Oshkosh Defense in Wisconsin and now one fifth of that fleet would be electric, double the original paltry 5,000 EVs originally planned.
Postmaster General and USPS Chief Executive Officer Louis DeJoy (yep. he’s still at it) released a statement about the order:
“We are pleased to be moving forward with this much needed investment in our fleet,” said Postmaster General and USPS Chief Executive Officer Louis DeJoy. ”Since I came on board a year and a half ago, we have continuously evaluated and adjusted our vehicle purchase strategy based on our future network initiatives, ongoing review of BEV application to our operational strategy, and our financial outlook as we undertake our ongoing implementation of the Delivering for America plan. Based upon this work and our improving outlook, we have determined that increasing our initial electric vehicle purchase from 5,000 to 10,019 makes good sense from an operational and financial perspective. Many of our 190,000 delivery vehicles on the road are more than 30 years old and lack basic safety features which are standard in most vehicles today. The safety of the men and women of the Postal Service is our number one priority, and they have waited long enough for the NGDV. We owe it to our carriers and the communities we serve to provide safer, more efficient vehicles to fulfill our universal service obligation to deliver to 161 million addresses in all climates and topographies six days per-week.”
DeJoy added, “Today’s order demonstrates, as we have said all along, that the Postal Service is fully committed to the inclusion of electric vehicles as a significant part of our delivery fleet even though the investment will cost more than an internal combustion engine vehicle. That said, as we have also stated repeatedly, we must make fiscally prudent decisions in the needed introduction of a new vehicle fleet. We will continue to look for opportunities to increase the electrification of our delivery fleet in a responsible manner, consistent with our operating strategy, the deployment of appropriate infrastructure, and our financial condition, which we expect to continue to improve as we pursue our plan.”
Naturally, this has nothing to do with the Environmental Protection Agency throwing mad shade at the new trucks, which improve on the current, 30-year-old fleet a whole 0.4 gallons per mile. The Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) will get a mere 8.6 mpg. An average regular car on a real road gets about 12 to 14 miles per gallon on average.
The EPA stated that the new fleet with only 10 percent of the vehicles being electric would suck down 10 million gallons of fuel annually. And LeJoy is right (ugh), EVs bear a lot more upfront cost. The USPS estimated it would cost an extra $3 billion to go all-electric. But you really see EV savings in fuel costs the longer you own the vehicle, and mail trucks are built to last. That additional cost also suddenly doesn’t seem that terrible with current gas prices.
This is just the start of a 10-year contract USPS has with Oshkosh Defense to build 230,000 NGDVs. Plenty of time for EV USPS trucks to make a case for growing their share of the fleet.