The United States Postal Service announced last week that it was awarded a multi-billion-dollar contract to update the postal delivery fleet. Oshkosh Defense of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, won the 10-year contract to build more efficient vehicles with fewer emissions.

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In recent years, the USPS has faced stiff competition from private delivery services and has endured derision over being less reliable. Investing in a modernized fleet is just part of an overarching, soon-to-be-released plan for USPS to triumph and once again become the nation’s preferred delivery service provider.

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Oshkosh Defense is finalizing designs for the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV). The plan is to assemble 50,000 to 165,000 of the new right-hand-drive mail and package delivery vehicles over the next decade. The vehicles will have either battery electric powertrains or fuel-efficient internal combustion engines. USPS plans to design them so that they can be easily retrofitted as electric vehicle technology evolves. An initial $482 million investment includes building the U.S. manufacturing facility where final assembly of the new fleet will happen.

diagram of safety features on USPS van

“Our fleet modernization also reflects the Postal Service’s commitment to a more environmentally sustainable mix of vehicles,” Postmaster General and USPS Chief Executive Officer Louis DeJoy said in a statement. “Because we operate one of the largest civilian government fleets in the world, we are committed to pursuing near-term and long-term opportunities to reduce our impact on the environment.”

NGDV safety features include advanced braking and traction control, 360-degree cameras and a front- and rear-collision avoidance system that includes visual, audio warning and automatic braking, according to USPS. Increased cargo capacity will accommodate more packages and maximize efficiency.

The current USPS fleet includes more than 230,000 vehicles in every class. Some are purpose-built for USPS delivery, while others are commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) vehicles. Some have already been in service for 30 years. About 190,000 of these deliver mail six or seven days a week, making them some of the hardest working vehicles on the road.


Images via USPS