USPS could purchase thousands of EVs, but will they?

The United States Postal Service (USPS) starts a new pilot EV project in which it will test seven all-electric step vans, supplied by Motiv Power Systems. The first one was already delivered and now serves routes in Fresno.

Motiv Power Systems builds its EVs using the Ford E-450 as a base and EPIC Chassis with 106 or 127 kWh battery packs for about 90 miles of range.

According to the press release, USPS will verify the vans capabilities, as well as fuel and maintenance savings over one year of the project. We guess that positive results could trigger some orders, but USPS seems reluctant so far, as various tests were already performed for several years.

"The pilot program of seven Motiv-powered vans is slated for deployment in California's Central Valley. The first vehicle now serves routes in Fresno with the balance of the vehicles to be deployed in Fresno and Stockton as part of a year-long program. Most of the immediate project benefits will accrue in the San Joaquin Valley, an economically disadvantaged area with some of the highest pollution burdens in the country, as evidenced by CalEnviroScreen scores within the worst five percent in the state.

The USPS has a long history of testing electric vehicles for city delivery. In fact, the first known test of an electric vehicle for mail collection was in Buffalo, New York on July 2, 1899. Since 2001, the USPS has operated 30 electric two-ton vehicles on the streets of New York City, and these were later joined by a pair of two-ton hybrid electric vehicles in Long Island.

"We're proud to now be a part of USPS' long tradition of implementing the latest technology to green their fleet," said Motiv CEO Jim Castelaz. "Our all-electric EPIC chassis have accumulated 500,000 real-world miles and are ideally suited to the USPS vehicle route characteristics. We're thrilled that USPS has chosen Motiv to help meet their sustainability goals."

The USPS' acquisition of the Motiv chassis-powered vans was developed as a partnership by CALSTART and the San Joaquin Clean Transportation Center and funded through a California Air Resources Board (CARB) award to the San Joaquin Air Quality Control. It represents a historic project. The funds are meant to provide an incentive to Californian fleets to adopt the cleanest emerging technologies and continue to advance California's Air Quality and Climate goals.

The USPS' acquisition of the vans was made possible by the California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment, particularly in disadvantaged communities.

The cap-and-trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution. California Climate Investment projects include affordable housing, renewable energy, public transportation, zero-emission vehicles, environmental restoration, more sustainable agriculture, recycling and much more. At least 35 percent of these investments are made in disadvantaged and low-income communities. More information on this program can be found at  California Climate Investments.

All parties involved in building, funding, and deploying this first wave of Motiv-powered USPS vans are excited about working together to bring this initial order to fruition."

Source: Motiv Power Systems, Green Car Congress