USPS’ new delivery van from Oshkosh Defense (company photo)
The U.S. Postal Service said it plans to update its environmental impact statement related to the mix of electric vs. gas-powered vehicles, saying the move is driven by its delivery network improvement plan and unrelated to lawsuits favoring an all-electric fleet.
At the National Postal Forum last month, U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy outlined plans to streamline facilities and delivery networks to make them more efficient by significantly reducing the number of processing plants and delivery units, eliminating redundancies in an effort to improve performance.
The mix may change, the USPS said in a release, due to aggregation of carrier operations that in turn will affect its delivery route structure, including adding miles out and back on delivery routes. The current fleet of 150,000 local delivery vehicles from Grumman went into service between 1987 and 1994.
“It may also streamline the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, as it would reduce the number of facilities where charging installations are needed and it would permit the upgraded electrical systems and infrastructure that are needed for the task,” the USPS said in the release. “This available industrial infrastructure significantly reduces the risks associated with deployment of new electric vehicles to facilities with less robust infrastructure.”
In April and May, 16 states plus three environmental groups filed three separate lawsuits against the USPS, seeking to block its purchase of gas-powered trucks as part of a plan to modernize its fleet by adding 165,000 vehicles over the next decade. The actions targeted the environmental impact statement and its review of vehicle purchase options, favoring an all-electric fleet.
The USPS contract calls for 10% of the new delivery vehicles to be electric, adding that percentage could be subject to change. The figure was doubled to 20% for the initial $2.98 billion order for 50,000 vehicles from Oshkosh Defense, according to AP.
“As I noted when we placed our initial (vehicle) delivery order, the Postal Service would continue to look for opportunities to further increase the electrification of our fleet in a responsible manner, as we continue to refine our operating strategy and implement the Delivering for America plan,” said DeJoy in a statement. “A modernized network of delivery facilities provides us with such an opportunity. This is the right approach —operationally, financially, and environmentally.”
Last year, the USPS was sued by Workhorse, an EV maker that had bid for the vehicle contract.