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Postal Service to buy 50,000 delivery vehicles in $3 billion initial order; agency to double EV purchases

In February 2021, the USPS announced an initial $482 million contract for Oshkosh and said it could order up to 165,000 vehicles over 10 years in a deal that could be worth $6 billion or more.

The modern vehicles will replace many older USPS vehicles that lack airbags and other safety equipment as well as air conditioning.

USPS estimates its total costs for buying and operating 75,000 new delivery vehicles over 20 years including fueling and maintenance at $9.3 billion for gasoline-powered vehicles compared with $11.6 billion for electric models.

In 2019, USPS operated 217,000 vehicles that traveled about 1.2 billion miles and spent about $706.2 million in maintenance costs for it fleet of 140,000 older delivery vehicles.

Oshkosh said its “contract allows the flexibility, when funding is provided, to increase the percentage of (electric vehicles) to be produced even after an order is placed.”

U.S. lawmakers have asked Oshkosh if it sought to avoid using union workers by deciding to build the vehicles in South Carolina and asked the Postal Service Office of Inspector General to review USPS’s vehicle purchase plan.

USPS said last week its commitment to “an electric fleet remains ambitious given the pressing vehicle and safety needs of our aging fleet as well as our fragile financial condition.”


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