Solely 10 % of the USA Postal Service’s new fleet of mail vehicles can be battery-powered despite President Biden’s desire to convert the entire government fleet, USPS head Louis DeJoy revealed in Congressional testimony on Wednesday. The opposite 90 % can be gas-powered, although the vehicles — that are being constructed by protection contractor Oshkosh — are supposedly designed to be transformed into electrical autos down the street.
When DeJoy was requested why it wasn’t the opposite means round, he stated he was keen to speak to the Biden administration however that the USPS doesn’t “have the three or 4 additional billion [dollars] in our plan proper now that it will take to do it.” The USPS mail autos make up a few third of the complete authorities fleet. The White Home didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
The USPS announced the new-generation mail truck on Tuesday following a yearslong bidding course of. It’s paying Oshkosh practically $500 million to get the autos into manufacturing by 2023, and the protection contractor is promising to construct wherever between 50,000 and 165,000 of them over the subsequent ten years. They’ll exchange the present mail vehicles which were in service for greater than twenty years, which had been constructed by protection contractor Grumman.
Lots of these mail vehicles — generally known as “lengthy life autos” or LLVs — are nicely previous their expiration dates and a few have even caught fireplace, which isn’t solely harmful however has additionally value the USPS lots in repairs and maintenance. Moreover, they’re not geared up with fashionable facilities like airbags or air-con. The brand new vehicles supply these, plus higher ergonomics and new security options.
Each the USPS and Oshkosh stated the deal was for a mixture of gasoline and electrical variations of the brand new automobile, and that they might be “fuel-efficient” and “low-emission.” However they initially declined to specify what that blend could be or how they outlined these phrases.
“The [new vehicles] are anticipated to be extra environmentally pleasant than the present LLVs on account of fewer journeys required and higher emission controls. These controls will lower emissions and assist enhance air high quality when in comparison with the autos they’re supposed to interchange,” the USPS advised The Verge. “The versatile platform will permit the Postal Service to buy the [new vehicles] with powertrains that maximize gas effectivity, cut back operational prices and permit the incorporation of rising applied sciences sooner or later after they change into mature and supply operational financial savings.”
A number of bidding firms proposed all-electric or hybrid choices throughout the six-year seek for a brand new truck, which was fraught with problems and delays. Solely a type of firms was nonetheless within the working throughout the remaining part, although: business EV startup Workhorse. After years of struggling to generate income, many trade analysts and specialists thought the USPS contract was Workhorse’s greatest shot at survival. However some thought Workhorse had a good probability contemplating it was the one one pitching an EV within the remaining stage and since electrical autos make numerous sense in short-range supply settings.
Workhorse stated Wednesday that it has requested “further data from the USPS” concerning the choice and that it “intends to discover all avenues which might be out there to non-awarded finalists in a authorities bidding course of.”
Some environmental teams took goal at DeJoy after the announcement of the brand new truck. The USPS chief has been underneath stress to resign for months following accusations that he was intentionally hampering the Postal Service’s skill to correctly operate throughout final yr’s election, which noticed a file variety of individuals vote by mail.
“From undermining our democracy to delaying local weather motion, Postmaster Normal Louis DeJoy continues to fail the USA Postal Service and the American public,” Gina Coplon-Newfield, the director of the Sierra Membership’s Clear Transportation for All marketing campaign, stated in a press release. “The dearth of dedication from the USPS to impress its fleet instantly contradicts the Biden administration’s objectives and govt order to wash up air pollution from the US authorities’s autos.”
However whereas DeJoy might make scapegoat, it’s not clear that politics had been on the coronary heart of the choice to go together with Oshkosh. The Trump administration definitely spent 4 years exhibiting a disdain for clear air insurance policies. But it surely was additionally fairly chummy with the individuals behind Workhorse. Trump himself cheered on the sale of the former General Motors factory in Lordstown, Ohio to Lordstown Motors, which is essentially a spinoff of Workhorse. Former Vice President Pence attended the unveiling of Lordstown Motors’ electric pickup truck (which is predicated on an unique Workhorse design). And the Division of Vitality began doing due diligence on Lordstown Motors for a doable Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing mortgage whereas Trump was nonetheless in workplace, even though the ATVM program has been in any other case dormant for practically a decade.