The US Postal Service is electrifying its next-generation delivery fleet • The Register

The United States Postal Service announced today that “at least” three-fourths of its planned fleet of next-generation delivery vehicles (NGDVs) would be electric, marking a significant departure from the fossil-fuel-heavy fleet plans announced in 2021.

As of 2026, the USPS said all NGDVs it purchased would be electric, so the remaining internal combustion engines in its fleet would presumably be phased out.

As part of the plan announced today, the USPS said it would purchase 60,000 purpose-built NGDVs by 2028, 45,000 of which will be battery electric vehicles (BEVs). The Postal Service said it also plans to purchase 21,000 additional off-the-shelf BEVs over the same period, bringing its total BEV purchases to “at least” 66,000 vehicles.

As an added benefit for mail carriers suffering from the heat, the USPS said the vehicles “are equipped with air conditioning and advanced safety technology and are better suited to today’s operational needs.”

As part of its plans to phase out the aging parts of its 220,000-vehicle fleet, the USPS plans to purchase a total of 106,000 vehicles by 2028. With 66,000 BEV purchases planned, the remaining 40,000 vehicles will be newly added to an agency – a tendency to stick with vehicles for 30 years – will be the internal combustion engine.

Still an improvement over previous plans

When U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy spoke to lawmakers about plans for the Post’s NGDV fleet, he claimed to work to ensure that only 10 percent of new vehicles purchased are electric, drawing quick criticism from the Biden administration and environmentalists themselves.

The Environmental Protection Agency sent a letter to the USPS in February 2022 urging it to reconsider its plans to retain fossil fuels for its new vehicles, but the Post responded that an electric delivery fleet was not economically viable.

That appears to have changed, thanks in no small part to the Post’s allocation of $3 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act to modernize the entire network, which they say was a key part of the ability to add more BEVs to their fleet.

“The $3 billion provided by Congress has significantly reduced the risk associated with accelerating the implementation of statewide infrastructure needed to electrify our delivery fleet,” DeJoy said.

The Postmaster General said reducing inefficient transport and improved distribution processes had resulted in fewer truck trips and less air freight, further reducing the Post’s carbon footprint.

The USPS said it is also considering reducing its vehicle lead times to better respond to its own “evolving operations strategy,” along with technology improvements that could make BEVs more accessible.

According to the USPS, customers can expect to see its next-generation delivery vehicles, electric or otherwise, on routes near them in late 2023. ® The US Postal Service is electrifying its next-generation delivery fleet • The Register

Rick Schindler

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