USPS buys 9,250 Ford E-Transit vans, with custom EVs years away

The United States Postal Service (USPS) this week announced plans to buy 9,250 Ford E-Transit electric vans, which will get the ball rolling on electrification while the Postal Service waits for its custom-designed electric delivery vans.

The first of the Ford vans are scheduled to arrive in December of this year, with deliveries continuing through 2024, and will be accompanied by the deployment of 14,000 charging stations, according to a USPS press release. Specific locations are to be determined, the Postal Service added, noting that the off-the-shelf vehicles are left-hand drive, and thus may not be suitable in all of the same situations as standard right-hand-drive mail trucks.

“Ford is proud to support the United States Postal Service in delivering a more sustainable future for America by electrifying their fleet with over 9,200 E-Transit vans through the end of 2024,” CEO Jim Farley said in a statement.

2022 Ford E-Transit

2022 Ford E-Transit

Ford rates the E-Transit at about 126 miles of range, and in a quick spin it proved to be remarkably nimble for the size and well-suited to last-mile delivery needs. The E-Transit is already being built in Kansas City, Missouri, allowing the Postal Service to add vehicles more quickly.

The Postal Service in 2021 unveiled its custom-designed Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV), designed to replace decades-old mail trucks. They will be built by defense contractor Oshkosh. However, the Postal Service now says the first of these vehicles is still years away.

The choice of E-Transit vans as an interim solution helps solidify the Postal Service’s previously shaky commitment to EVs. The NGDV is designed for either electric or internal-combustion powertrains, but when it was unveiled the Postal Service said only 10% would be electric —and that the electric version hadn’t even yet been engineered.

USPS Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDV) - Oshkosh Defense

USPS Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDV) – Oshkosh Defense

That led to much outcry, including a lawsuit from states and environmental groups, as well as criticism from the Biden administration, which aims to make all federal vehicle purchases electric. USPS officials initially stuck to the original plan, however, which critics said was based on flawed analysis.

The Postal Service now aims to only buy electric delivery vehicles from 2026. Under a plan announced in December 2022, the agency plans to add a 75%-electric NGDV fleet, with only electric versions of these vehicles purchased after 2026. The Postal Service said this week that it plans to commit $9.6 billion in funding for these purchases, including $3 billion from Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) funds.

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