The United States Postal Service (USPS) announced last week its plans to acquire at least 66,000 battery electric delivery vehicles as part of its 106,000 vehicle acquisition plan for deliveries between now and 2028.
The vehicles purchased as part of this anticipated plan will begin to replace the Postal Service’s aging delivery fleet of over 220,000 vehicles, the delivery service said.
According to USPS, it anticipates at least 60,000 Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDV), of which at least 75% (45,000) will be battery electric. As part of this plan, a total of 21,000 additional commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) vehicles are also expected to be battery electric, depending on market availability and operational feasibility. The Postal Service also noted that it anticipates including internal combustion vehicles necessary to meet immediate vehicle replacement needs.
The new fleet is also expected to modernize the service’s existing outdated vehicles, which USPS called “America’s largest and oldest federal fleet,” with amenities like air conditioning and advanced safety technology included for the first time.
This announcement was enabled by the Postal Service’s overall network modernization efforts which allows for a more rapid deployment of electric vehicles, and its improving financial condition which includes $3 billion in congressional funding appropriated under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said in a statement that these new vehicles will help the Postal Service deliver mail and packages to the 163 million addresses in services six days per week in a “more environmentally responsible way.”
“The $3 billion provided by Congress has significantly reduced the risk associated with accelerating the implementation of a nationwide infrastructure necessary to electrify our delivery fleet,” said DeJoy. “While most of the electric vehicle funding will continue to come from Postal Service revenues, we are grateful for the confidence that Congress and the Administration have placed in us to build and acquire what has the potential to become the largest electric vehicle fleet in the nation.”
The Postal Service added that it will continue to “evaluate” and “procure vehicles” over shorter time periods to be more responsive to its evolving operational strategy, technology improvements, and changing market conditions, including the expected increased availability of BEV options in the future.
The new next generation delivery vehicles are expected to start servicing postal routes in late 2023.
This follows an announcement from USPS competitor FedEx earlier this month stating it will expand its four-wheeled electric cart delivery service in New York City. The e-carts, as the logistics company calls them, are part of an expanded pilot program aimed at improving deliveries in major metropolitan areas.