Oshkosh Defense: New USPS delivery vehicle unveiled. It’s a pretty radical change
The squat, box-like van (OK, let’s just call them what they are – ugly) has a steering wheel on the right to make it easier for drivers to get to the post office and put it in mailboxes on the side of the road. They have few amenities like air conditioning. They are sturdy and not noticeable. They have lived up to their name, the Grumman LLV, for durable vehicles.
This ubiquitous fleet of 200,000 vehicles has been around longer than the usual features of modern life such as smartphones, online shopping, social media, streaming services or Google. About 70% of them are between 25 and 32 years old. DVDs have come and gone in people’s lifestyles during this time.
But her days are finally numbered.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Postal Service announced a contact for its Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV). And when they hit the streets in 2023, they may take some getting used to.
The new van has a low engine bay and hood, and a very high windshield. It looks like a duck’s head, complete with a bill. The back is big enough for a postman.
It also has safety features that are absent from many of today’s vehicles, including, believe it or not, airbags that are standard in virtually all automobiles these days.
You will also have reversing cameras, front collision warnings, automatic front and rear braking, blind spot detectors, and air conditioning to make summer postman easier.
The vehicles will have more cargo space than current vehicles, allowing USPS to deliver more parcels, a growing and profitable part of its business, than traditional mail, a segment that is shrinking.
Many, but not all, NGDVs will be electric vehicles. Because electric vehicles change rapidly and vehicles are designed to last for decades, the contract provides that the electric versions can be retrofitted to keep up with advances.
The rest will be high-efficiency conventional gasoline engines, according to USPS. The exact mix between electric vehicles and internal combustion engines has not been specified. But the mix has already sparked criticism from environmentalists.
“The USPS NGDVs urgently need electrification,” said Robbie Diamond, president of Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE). “This contract is a unique opportunity to stimulate the domestic electric vehicle market and supply chain, and a commitment to electrify the NGDV would be a clear incentive to further develop the domestic electric vehicle industry.”
The vehicles have also been in the works for years. USPS has been working on the project with potential suppliers since 2016.
The deal, announced on Tuesday, went to Oshkosh Defense, a unit of Oshkosh Corp.
Under the contract, between 50,000 and 165,000 vehicles will be built over a period of 10 years. Initially, $ 482 million will be allocated to initiate engineering efforts to complete the production vehicle design, as well as tooling and plant expansion activities required prior to vehicle production.
The size of the contract to actually purchase the production version of the vehicles has not yet been determined, but it will almost certainly be a billion dollar deal.
Shares of Oshkosh (( rose 6% in late trading and a further 7% in over-the-counter trading following the announcement. )