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Postal Service ups its planned buy of battery electric vehicles

The road to the December 20 announcement has been a decidedly winding one.

The U.S. Postal Service said it now expects 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 are expected to begin to replace the Postal Service’s aging delivery fleet of more than 220,000 vehicles.

The Postal Service said 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 the most recent procurement plan, a total of 21,000 commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) vehicles are also expected to be battery electric, depending on market availability and operational feasibility. The Postal Service said it also anticipates including internal combustion vehicles to meet “immediate vehicle replacement needs.”

For any COTS vehicles purchased, the Postal Service said it will include a preference for domestic manufacturing.

The Postal Service said its vehicle buy is enabled by its overall network modernization efforts and its improving financial condition, which includes $3 billion in congressional funding appropriated under the Inflation Reduction Act.

The congressional support “significantly reduced the risk” associated with accelerating the implementation of a nationwide infrastructure necessary to electrify the delivery fleet, the Postal Service said. 

The road to the December 20 announcement has been a decidedly winding one.

In February the Postal Service completed its obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act process and issued a Record of Decision to acquire up to 165,000 NGDV, with a commitment for at least 10% BEV. The decision was designed to provide the Postal Service the flexibility to acquire more BEV NGDV should financial and operational circumstances permit. 

In March the Postal Service announced a purchase order of 50,000 NGDV from Oshkosh Defense, including 10,000 BEVs. In July, it announced a plan to conduct a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement that anticipated increasing the NGDV minimum BEV percentage to at least 50%. It supplemented the NGDV order with a purchase of 34,500 COTS, making the combined purchase at least 40% BEV.

The Postal Service said that by May 2023 it will publish for public notice and comment a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement that will assess the potential environmental impacts of vehicle purchase alternatives.

Plans call for new NGDVs to start servicing postal routes in late 2023.

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