Published on September 28th, 2016 | by James Ayre0
New USPS Mail Trucks May Use Hybrid Or Electric Powertrains
September 28th, 2016 by James Ayre
The USPS’s search for an updated, modern mail delivery truck — which has been dubbed the “Next Generation Delivery Vehicle” search — may lead to an electric or hybrid design, according to recent reports and the USPS itself.
The US government mail delivery organization has apparently now identified the 6 “prime suppliers” that will be producing prototype vehicles (a total of 50) from which the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) will be chosen. This model will replace the current Grumman LLV.
The new prime suppliers’ contracts total $37.4 million in business. The companies are: AM General, Mahindra, Oshkosh, Utilimaster, VT Hackney, and Karsan.
That’s an interesting collection of names. Mahindra in particular stands out to me as something of a surprise.
Autoblog adds some useful background on the firms: “Who are these companies? Well, Mahindra might be familiar to readers as the company behind the all-electric GenZe scooter or the e2o electric car. AM General is the car behind the Hummer/Humvee, and says that it, ‘will build a series of prototype vehicles for testing by the USPS that seek to provide fuel efficiency and zero emission capability.’ Oshkosh is a specialty-truck manufacturer based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. VT Hackney has been making vocational vehicle bodies since 1946, and will build an NGDV prototype body while its partner, Workhorse Group, will provide the chassis and powertrain. Utilimaster builds walk-in vans. And, finally, Karsan is a Turkish commercial vehicle manufacturer.”
Beyond which firms have been selected by the USPS, not much else has been revealed yet. The 6 will now have around a year to “develop and produce” the prototypes they’ve received contracts for.
The USPS has revealed, though, that, “Half of the prototypes will feature hybrid and new technologies, including alternative fuel capabilities. The prototypes will represent a variety of vehicle sizes and drive configurations, in addition to advanced powertrains and a range of hybrid technologies.”
I wonder if “alternative fuel capabilities” refers to hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles? I can’t see how that would be a practical choice, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of prototypes based on the technology emerge from this. Alternatively, this could just be a reference to battery-electric vehicles, or to biofuel-burning vehicles.