The United States Postal Service (USPS) will acquire at least 66,000 battery electric delivery vehicles as part of its 106,000-truck acquisition plan by 2028, the agency said today.
That figure greatly increases the portion of the Post Office’s purpose-built Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDVs) that will be battery-powered from its initial estimate of just 5,000 electric mail trucks.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy took heat from lawmakers for that original plan in 2021, but replied that the beleaguered service couldn’t afford the more expensive electric design and needed to choose cheaper, gasoline-burning versions to upgrade its 30-year-old fleet as quickly as possible. Then in 2022, Congress passed a bill that reforms how the money-losing agency pays its employee health and retirement benefits. That move put the agency on stronger financial footing and, according to DeJoy, gave it the budget to afford the electric delivery trucks. Additional funding came later that year from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
In its announcement today, USPS pointed out that both the electric and the internal combustion versions of NGDVs—both to be built primarily by Wisconsin-based military contractor Oshkosh Defense—will have cleaner emissions than the current, aged fleet.
“We have a statutory requirement to deliver mail and packages to 163 million addresses six days per week and to cover our costs in doing so – that is our mission. As I have said in the past, if we can achieve those objectives in a more environmentally responsible way, we will do so,” DeJoy said in a release.
“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. 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.”
USPS plans to receive at least 60,000 NGDVs, of which at least 75% (45,000 units) will be battery electric. It will buy the balance of the electric vehicles—some 21,000 mail trucks—from commercial automakers, depending on market availability and operational feasibility.