USPS Urged To Go Plug-In For Replacement Of Delivery Vehicles

NOV 25 2017 BY MARK KANE 39

The United States Postal Service is on the cusp of making a selection its next-generation postal delivery vehicles.  Several manufacturers have survived to the final stage.

USPS – Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDV)

The stakes are high, as USPS uses more than 200,000 vehicles today.

Of those, apparently ≈163,000 are right-hand drive, light-duty carrier route vehicles (CRVs), which were purchased between 1987 and 2001.

13 environmental groups have now urged USPS to select electrified vehicles, and thus save up to 180 million gasoline-equivalent gallons (GGE) of fuel, over more than 1.3 billion miles every year.

The short list of those names is:

  • CALSTART
  • Electric Auto Association
  • Environment America
  • Environmental Law and Policy Center
  • Forth
  • Natural Resource Council of Maine
  • Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Oregon Environmental Council
  • Plug In America
  • Public Citizen
  • Safe Climate Campaign
  • Sierra Club
  • Union of Concerned Scientists

There are still five vehicles with the chance to be selected, but only two are plug-ins according to what little info is available. The list of supplier includes:

  • AM General
  • Oshkosh
  • Mahindra
  • VT Hackney/Workhorse – electrified (range-extended electric vehicle)
  • Karsan/Morgan Olson – electrified

Selection is expected early 2018 with deployment from the first quarter of 2020.

“Public details on the vehicles are scant, although the VT Hackney/Workhorse candidate is a range-extended electric vehicle. VT Hackney is building the body of the prototype vehicles while Workhorse Group is providing the chassis and powertrain. Karson/Morgan is making a hybrid truck that is also being considered.

The USPS received prototype NGDV vehicles the week of 18 September; actual testing by letter carriers began the week of 2 October. Testing sites include Flint and Utica, MI; Falls Church and Leesburg, VA; and Tempe and Tucson, AZ. On a three-week rotating basis, the vehicles will be used over the next six months during normal delivery operations in these diverse weather environments.

Testing will focus on each prototype’s comfort, usability, functionality, ergonomics, performance, operations, and so on. Additionally, testing of the vehicles’ durability, components and fuel economy will be conducted by engineers at third-party laboratories.”

Full letter here:

The United State Postal Service (USPS) – Next generation delivery vehicles selection

source: Green Car Congress

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39 Comments on "USPS Urged To Go Plug-In For Replacement Of Delivery Vehicles"

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Sounds like a good idea.

Honestly, it’s too bad they didn’t make plug in technology a requirement for all prototypes.

Here’s hoping they decide to proceed with one of those variants anyway. The post office would save enormous amounts of operating costs if they went that route (pun intended, heh).

The Nissan e-NV200 looks like it would need the least modification, and it’s even available with right hand drive! Trust the government to ignore the sensible solution.

Nissan was the one who didn’t choose to participate. They would have to build it in the US and they would have to pass DOT crash worthiness.

They are equipped to build them in the USA and the NV200 is already sold here, when the 60kwh battery arrives next year we will finally see the e-NV200 sold in North America.

For reasons only known to them, they didn’t participate in the RFP.

Did Nissan pit in a bid with the USPS??
Because if Nissan wants to sell the have to bid…

Hopefully they will chose BEV only for it as it pained me seeing that wasnt a bidding requirement…
What year do they think this is and BEVs are perfect for their duty cycle…

The again I still cant beleive they deleiver mail every day and not every other day but that would literally take an act of congress to change…
But it would cut their end user deliveey fleet in half and the labor associated with it… I mean after all they are bleeding billions…

They’re in the red because the GOP passed a law forcing them to fund their pension fund 75 years into the future. They did it because lobbyists want the USPS to stop competing with UPS/Fedex, etc, but those companies still need the USPS to cover the last mile in many areas. It’s all about maximizing profits of private delivery companies.

It actually all started because USPS was paying too much into the old pay-as-you-go system. USPS was paying into pensions the same year they had to pay out, and they were owed a big refund from the federal gov’t.

Under Bush, they didn’t want to refund the USPS and blow their budget numbers. So they applied that overpayment to prefunding future years of pensions instead.

This actually would have worked great, if they had actually calculated the pension requirements using the correct base wages, and if they would have amortized it over 40 years. But instead of using USPS wages, they used median US gov’t wages which are substantially higher, and they amortized it over just 10 years. It is that decision that is the most suspect, and looks the most like intentional sabotage in order to force the USPS to either fold or shrink or sell itself off.

It doesn’t have the required 2,000 pound + driver load capacity. It also likely doesn’t meet deck height requirements for being loaded at standard USPS loading docks.

I highly doubt any off-the-shelf vehicle would meet all the standards required to replace the LLV’s they currently have that were built by Grumman specifically to the specifications.

As always Nix, great comment!!
I’ll add that postal vehicles need to be quite heavy duty, withstanding salt on the roads for years, and not wearing out easily.

Was the DHL Street-scooter in the initial list?

While these vehicles may not be applicable everywhere the postal service goes (eg: Long Rural Routes), in Urban areas the vehicles don’t seem to drive very far on any given day – seemingly less than 20 miles per day in most Urban/Suburban routes.

That being the case, a recharge rate similar to the standard 1 kw rate of all standard GM EV products from the VOLT to the ELR to the BOLT ev, would be adequate to recharge the vehicles for the next day’s deliveries.

The ten vehicles my small post office uses almost every day would therefore only add a mere 10 kw to the existing way larger than necessary 46 kw electric service, and most post offices have far more cushion than this.

The appeal letter should have emphasized how the post office buildings’ existing infrastructure could be used basically unchanged to fully electrify their neighborhood fleets, thereby nulifying concern about some Great Building Project.

I wonder what the range of the Bolt would be under the slow stop and go driving on postal routes? Probably enough for any route in the existence.

The BOLT ev gets uncanny mileage at slow speeds, like 25 mph – around 8 miles/ kwh.

Its tallness hurts it greatly at freeway speeds – so you’re right – an EV would be fantasically efficient to deliver the postman to his neighborhood. He parks the vehicle and walks around the block anyway – so that’s not many miles traveled for the vehicle.

The next-generation postal delivery program is specifically to replace the 1-ton LLV’s that the USPS operates.

Yes, there are routes where lighter duty vehicles can replace current lighter duty vehicles. But this isn’t that program. This one specifically replaces mail trucks that need to have a load capacity rating of at least 2,000 lbs.

So while there are certainly routes where a lighter duty vehicle would work, that is outside of the scope of what the next-generation postal delivery program is for.

To really push it, someone needs to do a TCO calculation on this, i.e. show the carrot of cost savings and low maintenance, not the stick of GHG emissions.

Looks like this is another potential way for Trump to sabotage the US? I don’t know much about USPS governance but you just know Trump and his fossil fuel cabinet secretaries are itching to force the USPS to go with the most antiquated tech possible.

Trump and the Republicans were elected by fossil fuel pacs(coal, gas and oil mostly) and now fossil fuel companies are running our country at the Federal level. This may be their last hurrah because even the Republican tribal voting states in the South are now questioning the Republicans and moving to vote for the best man for the job instead of the party.

That is why the Coal industry should strongly support Electric Vehicles. Charging vehicles overnight is one of the best uses for coal.

OF course zzzzzzz, and slc would say convert it to hydrogen.

Coal is dead, Bill….and nat gas is the killer.

It’s too late for coal. They got in bed with Big Oil believing they were allies and woke up with a natural gas shiv sticking out of their back. For my part I’ll she’d no tears for them.

You still living in the Carboniferous, Bill?

Congress needs to pass a law stopping corporations and rich from donating to political parties, packs etc. Currently bills are passed to favor corpoations and rich with deep pockets. When an Adelson spends 100 million on politicians or Koch Brothers who doesn’t believe there doing it for there own interest coal, oil, banks, ,pharmaceutical etc.
Citizens aren’t being heard we can vote but corpoations and rich have the power to make politicians do as they say.

I say limit the contributions to say $1000 per person or entity. That would level up the play field a bit between people and corporations.

The USPS next-generation postal delivery vehicle program started years ago. They are in the process of evaluating vehicles built to those standards.

Trump doesn’t actually have any direct control over the USPS, since it is an independent entity not under control of the Executive Branch.

Too much common sense in your posting. The conspiracy theorists prefer ideology rather than facts.

While it’s true in this case, there are plenty of indications that Trump and the Republicans are trying to undermine EVs and green tech. It’s not really CT when it’s true.

According to the USPS website, they are currently testing 10 EV Navistar one ton step vans.

Also, they are very BIG on “Sustainability”, bragging that they did it even when it wasn’t popular.

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the next generation of local step vehicles were electric.

Considering their financial struggles, USPS need to give ev a strong consideration. At 9mpg of the mail delivery small truck and 1.3 b miles driven that translates to about $350 million in gasoline costs at the current low prices. With evs that should be cut by at least a factor of 3. They need the savings to stay alive.

The problem is the up-front costs. They need to replace about 160,000 vehicles that they are way behind schedule to replace, and they don’t have enough money to pay up front for future savings.

Sadly, they are being strangled by being forced to prefund 75 years of pensions in 10 years, so they can’t afford to replace their aging fleet of trucks that keep costing them more and more in maintenance.

They need to replace them anyway so either way there will be an upfront cost. The only question they have to ask themselves is if they want to part with a boat load of $ and never see any return or go the ev route and maybe add some solar (like the schools and hospitals are doing here in CA with 0 down leases) to reduce the costs even more. It’s not that hard.

If we got rid of junk mail, they could probably use a Zero motorcycle.

Junk mail is their money maker these days.

Exactly. People who complain about the price of a first-class stamp repeatedly going up, and advertisers getting a cut rate on mailing junk mail, have it backwards. It’s not the price of a first-class stamp which is subsidizing a lower price for junk mail; it’s the junk mail (which is pre-sorted by the mailer, reducing the post office’s workload, and thus earning a lower postage rate) that subsidizes a pretty low first-class mail rate. If you think about the service given for a first-class letter, being able to get a letter hand-delivered to any address in the USA for less than 50¢, usually in no more than 2-3 days, is a pretty darn good value for the money spent. Imagine how much it would cost to hire a courier for that service! Even UPS charges, what, about $6 for the lowest priced, smallest and slowest (ground transportation) package delivery? Complaints about our U.S.’s Postal Service, and comparing our postal service to postal service in other countries, reminds me of a famous quote about governments: “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried.” — Winston Churchill Yeah, our… Read more »

As the driver of a hybrid family sized sedan, I highly encourage an EV or hybrid vehicle. Both types of vehicles thrive in city driving. My car has averaged, overall, 40 mpg in the 4 years I’ve owned it. On the highway I get in the mid 40’s, mpg.

The problem with trying to use an off-the-shelf EV delivery van like the Nissan e-NV200 is that the USPS doesn’t want consumer-grade vehicles, which are designed to last 15 or so years in light use. The USPS uses utility vehicles that typically last in heavy use for something like 25-30 years. That’s why they almost certainly will continue to get their delivery vehicles made by companies specializing in making utility vehicles; companies such as Workhorse. And not made by companies that make passenger vehicles for the general public, such as Nissan.

Yup, you nailed it!!

Check out the data on the current Post Office vehicle… seems perfect for an EV:

https://www.greatbusinessschools.org/usps-long-life-vehicle/