The United States Postal Service reported Dec. 20 that it would acquire an even greater share of electric delivery vans than previously announced.
The increase comes after public outcry over how few of the vehicles in the replacement fleet would be EVs, with critics noting that postal vehicles would be ideal for electrification.
The amended contract now significantly increases the portion of electric Oshkosh Defense trucks and other manufacturers will build, aiming to phase out new acquisitions of internal-combustion Oshkosh trucks by 2026.
The Postal Service now plans to buy a total of 106,000 vehicles, including at least 66,000 electric vehicles. The push to electrify received a significant boost from $3 billion in funding from last summer’s Inflation Reduction Act.
The USPS now says it will buy at least 60,000 Next Generation Delivery Vehicles, or NGDVs, from Oshkosh Defense.
Of those 60,000 NGDVs, at least 45,000 will be solely powered by batteries: the remaining 25% of the Oshkosh delivery vans will be gas-powered.
To augment the vehicles from Oshkosh, USPS also said it will buy commercially available vehicles from other automakers.
Depending on availability and operational feasibility, the USPS will aim for about 21,000 of those commercial vehicles to be battery electric vehicles, with domestic manufacturers receiving priority for the additional order.
Along with the larger planned proportion of electric NGDVs, the new announcement includes a plan to phase out internal-combustion-powered Oshkosh vans.
While the 106,000 trucks are expected to be delivered between now and 2028, the Postal Service says it expects the full electric vehicle order after 2026.
Initial plans for the NGDV initiative released in February 2022 called for the USPS to purchase 165,000 vehicles, with just a 10% share of electric vehicles. After complaints from environmental groups, 16 states, and Washington D.C., the USPS announced a new round of purchases in March—50,000 additional trucks, of which 50% would be electric.
Then in July, USPS said it would buy enough new electric trucks to bring the total percentage of electric trucks in the fleet to 40%, including the vehicles from the original purchase agreement.
The latest announcement brings the total of electric trucks in the Oshkosh portion of the fleet expansion to 75%, a significant increase.
In a statement, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy noted that delivering mail to 163 million addresses was his priority, but that the additional Congressional funding had made electrifying the fleet more achievable.
“The $3 billion provided by Congress has significantly reduced the risk associated with accelerating the implementation of a nationwide infrastructure necessary to electrify our delivery fleet,” DeJoy said.
He added that the USPS is also currently working to improve the efficiency of its distribution and that both the new routes and the new trucks will reduce the Service’s environmental footprint.