The USPS has just doubled its EV order.
As the US slowly starts to adopt electric vehicles, the public sector is woefully lagging behind the private sector, despite president Joe Biden's promises to invest billions in charging networks and electrification of federal fleets. Nowhere else is this more evident than in the US Postal Service. In February, we reported that the USPS had ignored pleas to electrify its fleet, and instead spent tons of money on gas-guzzling trucks that offered barely any improvements on the Grumman Long Life Vehicles (LLV) they were set to replace.
In May, the USPS was taken to court in New York and California for violating part of the National Environmental Policy Act by ordering said trucks without submitting to the required review process. Now in a major shift in policy, the USPS is doubling its EV purchases.
The USPS said on Wednesday that it would be ordering 25,000 EV delivery trucks, more than double the original order, in an effort to replace its rapidly aging fleet of combustion-powered delivery trucks. USPS originally intended to procure 10,019 EVs, out of its initial order of 50,000 vehicles from Oshkosh Defense. This follows the announcement that the USPS is going to order 34,500 commercial off-the-shelf delivery vehicles over the next two years. The postal service said that the purchase will include "as many BEVs as are commercially available and consistent with our delivery profile." Unfortunately, up to 14,500 gas-powered right-hand drive vehicles will still enter the fleet. Of the 84,000 vehicles the USPS plans to purchase over the following years, 40 percent will be electric.
This massive investment is expected to cost close to $3 billion, but it will also spend money on repairing older vehicles. The USPS said it will "also need to make a significant investment in the repair of over 50,000 aging delivery vehicles each year to continue extending their useful life, despite the significant operational risk, considerable maintenance costs, and the higher emissions of greenhouse gasses."
The company added that it "anticipates evaluating and procuring smaller quantities of vehicles over shorter time periods in order to be more responsive to our evolving operational strategy, technology improvements, and changing market conditions."
The USPS seems to finally be on the right track, but only time will tell if EV adoption rates truly pick up. If it fails to adapt, perhaps Elon Musk can sponsor the nation a fleet of Cybertrucks.