Despite Biden’s announcement to electrify government fleets, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has just awarded a contract to the US commercial vehicle manufacturer Oshkosh Defense, which is mainly known for building military vehicles.
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These will replace the entire fleet with up to 165,000 examples of a “Next Generation Delivery Vehicle” over the next ten years. It seems these vehicles will still be fossil-fuelled that could be retrofitted later with an undisclosed number that would be battery-electric. Louis DeJoy, the USPS chief behind this decision (who was appointed by Donald Trump), isn’t a great fan of letting go of fossil fuels.
Update 26 February 2021: Postmaster General Louis DeJoy further elaborated his plans to lawmakers on Wednesday. As it turns out, the Postal Service is only committed to having electric vehicles make up 10% of its next-generation fleet as part of its multibillion-dollar plan to retire its 30-year-old delivery vehicles. The contract is expected to be worth more than $6 billion in total and will demand delivery of between 50,000 and 165,000 of the vehicles over 10 years. Whether enough OEMs even still supply internal-combustion vehicles in a decade will be interesting to see; however, this marks a heavy disappointment for the new US American administration.
Update 10 March 2021: Following the award of a contract to renew the fleet of the United States Postal Service (USPS), the last word in the matter has apparently not yet been spoken, as there are some new developments.
USPS chief Louis DeJoy, appointed by Donald Trump, had awarded a contract to US commercial vehicle manufacturer Oshkosh Defense to deliver up to 165,000 new vehicles. Of these, only ten per cent were to have electric powertrains, even though new U.S. President Joe Biden had announced that all of the government’s roughly 645,000 vehicles nationwide would be replaced with electric vehicles.
Now, a group of 17 Democrats in the US House of Representatives has filed a bill to provide $6 billion to the US Postal Service to purchase tens of thousands of additional e-delivery vehicles to have at least 75 per cent of new USPS vehicles electric.
Democratic representatives also alerted the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to reports of unusual trading in Oshkosh stock shortly before the deal was announced. Questions were raised about a 524,400-share Oshkosh trade, which came in after-hours trading on 22 February. The size of that trade was almost as much as the average daily volume in the stock in the prior year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, U.S. vehicle manufacturer Workhorse, which also participated in the bidding for the renewal of the USPS fleet, was the only purely e-vehicle manufacturer of the companies involved that had firmly expected to win a share of the contract, announced it would explore its legal options to challenge the decision.
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