Technology

USPS unveils next-generation mail truck with electric drivetrain option

The USA Postal Service (USPS) has revealed its new mail truck after a years-long competitors. The brand new truck will probably be constructed by Wisconsin-based protection contractor Oshkosh and will be fitted with each gasoline and electric drivetrains. However it received’t hit the highway till 2023.

Oshkosh profitable the contract is a probably main blow to business electric car startup Workhorse, which was one of many three remaining bidders. The corporate’s inventory value plummeted following the announcement, and buying and selling was halted a number of occasions.

The USPS has been seeking to substitute its current mail vehicles for years now, and it began taking solicitations for brand new designs again in 2015. The necessity for brand new vehicles is pressing. Those at the moment on the highway usually are not solely woefully outdated — they don’t even have air-con — however they’re a major fire risk.

The switchover was supposed to begin occurring in 2018, however this system skilled a number of setbacks. The USPS repeatedly prolonged deadlines within the early going on the request of the bidding producers, after which after they lastly delivered the primary prototypes, a lot of them had been defective, according to an Inspector-General report released last August. This system was hit with additional delays as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Extra cargo area, air-con, and hopefully fewer fires

The brand new truck has extra cargo area, higher ergonomics, and, sure, air-con. It’s additionally dotted with cameras that give a 360-degree view, serving to energy a front- and rear-collision avoidance system with visible and audio warnings in addition to computerized braking. The massive entrance windshield and low hood must also give drivers a a lot better view of the highway and pedestrians or cyclists, which is a giant enchancment for the security of individuals outdoors the car.

Oshkosh nonetheless has to finalize the design of the mail truck, which is a part of the explanation for the two-year wait. The protection contractor is getting a $482 million funding up entrance and is promising to make between 50,000 to 165,000 of the vehicles over 10 years. Oshkosh had been working with Ford in the course of the bidding course of, nevertheless it’s unclear whether or not Ford was nonetheless concerned within the last product.

Grid View

The USPS and Oshkosh don’t say precisely how lots of the vehicles will probably be gas-powered and what number of will probably be electric, simply that the plan is to make each and that the autos will probably be designed in a method in order that the powertrains will be switched to electric over time. The USPS says the fuel engines will probably be “gasoline environment friendly low-emission” however didn’t specify what it means by these phrases.

President Biden stated in January that he needs to interchange your complete authorities fleet to electric drivetrains, although that received’t be potential with out the USPS, which accounts for a couple of third of these autos.

“It’s disappointing that in the present day’s announcement doesn’t instantly decide to electrifying one in all our nation’s largest car fleets,” Robbie Diamond, the CEO of nonprofit Securing America’s Future Vitality, stated in an announcement. “This contract is a golden alternative to stimulate the home EV market and provide chain, and a dedication to electrifying the [postal fleet] would supply a transparent incentive for additional home EV business improvement alongside your complete provide chain, from minerals to markets.”

Workhorse was the final remaining bidder pitching a totally electric car, and it put numerous effort into surviving as a enterprise simply to make it to the tip of this course of. The corporate bought off a small drone division, ostensibly spun out a brand new startup in Lordstown Motors to make an electric pickup truck with out Workhorse’s baggage, and it even paid $7 million to purchase out its authentic companion within the bid, trucking producer VT Hackney. Workhorse even tailored the fine print of a recent loan in such a method that it will pay much less curiosity if it received the USPS contract.

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