Ford earns Postal Service’s latest EV contract

Electric delivery by US Postal Service

You’re probably used to these vans, but the next generation of postal service vehicles will be electric. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

With all the government-backed initiatives aimed at boosting EV adoption, is it any surprise that the country’s largest federally-backed fleet is leading the way?

The U.S. Postal Service is continuing its efforts to electrify more than 66,000 delivery vehicles by 2028 as part of its Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) initiative, and this week announced the award of another major vehicle delivery contract.

Oshkosh Defense got the first — which originally included around 10,000 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and later grew to 25,000 — beating the Workhorse Group. This time Ford was the winner. The agency ordered 9,250 commercial off-the-shelf BEVs (COTS) from the automaker, and deliveries are scheduled to begin in December this year.

The vehicles will be 100% electric, domestically sourced and manufactured in Kansas City, Missouri. They will also represent a large part of the Postal Service’s goal of 21,000 COTS vehicles, which is part of its 2028 electrification goal.

To support all of these newcomers, the agency has also awarded contracts to three unnamed EV charging vendors to buy 14,000 charging stations. These locations will be used to build a nationwide infrastructure for charging hardware and software, which the Postal Service calls EV Utility Equipment Inventory.

“We continue with our plans to improve our service, reduce our costs, increase our revenue and improve the working environment for our employees. The electrification of our vehicle fleet is now an important part of these initiatives,” said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. “We have developed a strategy that mitigates both the cost and risk of deployment – making it possible to start executing this initiative now.”

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Between now and December – or whenever the first Ford deliveries arrive – the agency also awarded a contract for 9,250 COTS gas-powered vehicles. A spokesman told CBS News that they will be manufactured by Fiat Chrysler Automobile and are intended as a stopgap measure to increase capacity ahead of BEV deliveries.

Overall, the agency expects its investment in NGDVs to reach $9.6 billion, about a third of which can be attributed to last year’s anti-inflation law. In the next five years, three-quarters of new car purchases will be electric — and all by 2026.

The plan, revealed in December, wasn’t always so robust. DeJoy and the Postal Service came under fire from activists and lawmakers when they first unveiled the NGDV initiative in February 2021, forcing a change in the agency’s strategy.

Critics pointed out that only about 10% of the vehicles included in Oshkosh’s original order were electric, leading to multiple lawsuits accusing the postal service of failing to properly analyze its fleet’s environmental tolls.

By December, DeJoy had changed his mind and, with support from the White House, announced that the agency’s future vehicle orders would be dominated by electric vehicles.

With contributions from Oshkosh and Ford, the Postal Service has now ordered 34,250 electric vehicles, just over half of those 66,000.

Click here to see more of Jack Daleo’s FreightWaves articles.

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