Long Life Vehicle
Our hope is that the 180,000 U.S. Postal Service vehicles that will be replaced starting in early 2018 are all of the plug-in variety.
Here's a summary of the situation via Automotive News:
"Faced with rising maintenance costs for its aging fleet and needing extra cargo space to satisfy the desires of online shoppers, the U.S. Postal Service is asking automakers to bid on a commercial van that would replace the boxy Long Life Vehicle and become the backbone of the service’s delivery fleet starting in 2018."
"The agency has scheduled a meeting with potential bidders next week in Washington. It says it will pick vendors this summer to build prototypes, which will undergo tests in 2016 before a contract is awarded in early 2017."
This is believed to be the largest fleet purchase in U.S. history with those 180,000 vehicles valued at $25,000 to $35,000 a pop. Total contract value could be north of $6 billion.
Here's what the USPS is seeking:
"The Postal Service wants a van with right-hand drive, which could make it tougher to satisfy U.S.-content procurement rules. The agency also plans to explore alternative-fuel powertrains to save fuel and wants major modifications to suit mail carriers’ daily routine and durability standards."
It's likely the vehicle will be purpose-built, at least to some extent and our hope is that it's a plug-in hybrid van of some sort. That would staisfy the USPS' desire to have a more fuel-efficient vehicle. The current Long Life Vehicle gets ~ 16 MPG in the real world, which is too low, according to the USPS.
It'll be interesting to see which automakers, and what vehicles, are presented in bidding for this massive contract.
Source: Automotive News