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Ford earns Postal Service’s latest EV contract

Delivery of 9,250 battery electric vehicles expected to begin in December

You're probably used to seeing this delivery van, but the next generation of Postal Service vehicles will be electric. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

With all of the government-backed initiatives designed to boost electric vehicle adoption, is it any surprise that the nation’s largest federally backed fleet is leading the way?

Continuing its push to electrify more than 66,000 delivery vehicles by 2028 as part of its Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) initiative, the U.S. Postal Service this week announced the awarding of another major vehicle delivery contract.

Oshkosh Defense received the first — which initially included around 10,000 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and later rose to 25,000 — beating out Workhorse Group. This time around, Ford was the winner. The agency placed an order for 9,250 commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) BEVs from the automaker, and deliveries are expected to begin this December.

The vehicles will be 100% electric and domestically sourced, manufactured in Kansas City, Missouri. They’ll also represent a large chunk of the Postal Service’s target of 21,000 COTS vehicles, part of its 2028 electrification goal.

In addition, to support all of these new arrivals, the agency said it awarded contracts to three unnamed EV charging suppliers to purchase 14,000 charging stations. Those sites will be used to establish a nationwide infrastructure of charging hardware and software, which the Postal Service calls the Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment inventory.

“We are moving forward with our plans to simultaneously improve our service, reduce our cost, grow our revenue, and improve the working environment for our employees. Electrification of our vehicle fleet is now an important component of these initiatives,” said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. “We have developed a strategy that mitigates both cost and risk of deployment — which enable execution on this initiative to begin now.”

Watch: The Changing Face of the USPS

Between now and December — or whenever the first Ford deliveries arrive — the agency also awarded a contract for 9,250 COTS gas-powered vehicles. A spokesperson told CBS News that they will be made by Fiat Chrysler Automobile and are intended as a stopgap measure to add capacity prior to the BEV deliveries.

In total, the agency expects its investment in NGDVs to reach $9.6 billion, about a third of which can be traced back to last year’s Inflation Reduction Act. Over the next five years, three-quarters of its new vehicle purchases will be electric — and by 2026, all of them will.

The plan, revealed in December, was not always so robust. DeJoy and the Postal Service came under fire from activists and lawmakers when they first introduced the NGDV initiative in February 2021, forcing a change in the agency’s strategy.

Critics pointed out that only around 10% of the vehicles included in the initial purchase order from Oshkosh were electric, spurring multiple lawsuits that accused the Postal Service of improperly analyzing the environmental toll of its fleet. 

By December, DeJoy had changed his tune, announcing with support from the White House that the agency’s future vehicle orders will be dominated by EVs.

With Oshkosh and Ford’s contributions, the Postal Service has now placed orders for 34,250 EVs, a little over half of that 66,000 figure.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Jack Daleo.

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Jack Daleo

Jack Daleo is a staff writer for Flying Magazine covering advanced air mobility, including everything from drones to unmanned aircraft systems to space travel — and a whole lot more. He spent close to two years reporting on drone delivery for FreightWaves, covering the biggest news and developments in the space and connecting with industry executives and experts. Jack is also a basketball aficionado, a frequent traveler and a lover of all things logistics.