- The U.S. Postal Service will more than double its order of electric delivery vans from Oshkosh Defense as the agency looks to electrify nearly half of its new fleet, according to an announcement this week.
- USPS has revised its order for 50,000 vehicles from Oshkosh Defense so that at least 50% of vehicles, or 25,000, will be electric. Previously the agency stipulated 20% of its orders should be for EVs.
- The revised agreement will mean that at least 40% of all new USPS vehicles will now be electric. The agency said it was able to order more EVs due to network modernization, route optimization, improved facility electric infrastructure and greater vehicle and technology availability.
USPS, the country's largest federal fleet, had been pushing for greater electrification in recent months under its "Next Generation Delivery Vehicle” program, which initially included an order for only 5,000 EVs. The Postal Service said in March that it has struggled to electrify its fleet due to a lack of funding and infrastructure, and that it would order more EVs should additional funding become available.
USPS initially ordered 50,000 vehicles from EV manufacturer Oshkosh Defense in March, of which 10,019 would have been electric, for $2.98 billion. It now says that at least 50% of the vans from Oshkosh will be EVs. The agency has identified "10,019 specific delivery routes that present the best initial application for electric vehicles," according to the most recent announcement.
The expanded electrification push, however, did not all originate with the Postal Service. The agency originally intended to replace 90% of its 212,000 vehicle fleet with fossil fuel-powered models, before 16 states filed suit against USPS in April, claiming the initial plan violated the National Environmental Policy Act and should be dropped.
“The Postal Service has a historic opportunity to invest in our planet and in our future. Instead, it is doubling down on outdated technologies that are bad for our environment and bad for our communities,” California Attorney General Rob Bonta said in an April statement.
Despite its controversy earlier this year, USPS says it has big electrification plans for the future — the agency said in its February announcement that it has "discussed an ability" to achieve 70% fleet electrification by the end of the decade, though it notes that congressional funding levels have varied.
Oshkosh first snagged the USPS deal in February 2021 with a 10-year contract to modernize the agency's aging fleet in the "most dramatic modernization of the USPS fleet in three decades," according to an agency announcement. It expects to begin putting Oshkosh-designed vehicles on the road in late 2023.
The postal service is also proposing to buy 34,500 off-the-shelf vehicles over the next two years to address the "critical and immediate need to accelerate the replacement of our aging fleet," the agency said in its July 20 statement. USPS' fleet includes vehicles up to 30 years old.