A coalition comprised of 13 different environmental groups advocating for “clean” transportation solutions in the US has sent an open letter to the United States Postal Service (USPS) calling for the next-generation delivery vehicles (NGDV) design that’s chosen to be a plug-in electric.
As it stands, the USPS fleet currently travels some 1.3 billion miles a year, and uses over 180 million gasoline gallon equivalents of fuel a year — so a wholesale transition to plug-in electric vehicles would represent quite a coup, whether we are talking about plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) or all-electrics (EVs).
As we reported a while back, 2 of the 5 models currently being considered by the USPS as possible NGDVs actually are plug-in electric vehicles, so what the letter amounts to in practice is a public vote by the organizations in question for one (or both) of the plug-in options.
The 13 environmental groups making that public plea are: CALSTART; the Electric Auto Association; Environment America; the Environmental Law and Policy Center; Forth; the Natural Resource Council of Maine; the Natural Resources Defense Council; the Oregon Environmental Council; Plug In America; Public Citizen; the Safe Climate Campaign; the Sierra Club; and the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Green Car Congress provides more: “In 2016, the Postal Service awarded contracts to six prime suppliers who together were to produce 50 prototype vehicles as part of the next phase of the NGDV acquisition process. Half of the prototypes would feature hybrid and new technologies, including alternative fuel capabilities, USPS said at the time.
“Since then, the pool has shrunk to 5: 3 single companies — AM General, Oshkosh and Mahindra — and 2 collaborations — VT Hackney/Workhorse and Karsan/Morgan Olson. Public details on the vehicles are scant, although the VT Hackney/Workhorse candidate is a range-extended electric vehicle. VT Hackney is building the body of the prototype vehicles while Workhorse Group is providing the chassis and powertrain.
“The USPS received prototype NGDV vehicles the week of 18 September; actual testing by letter carriers began the week of 2 October. Testing sites include Flint and Utica, MI; Falls Church and Leesburg, VA; and Tempe and Tucson, AZ. On a 3-week rotating basis, the vehicles will be used over the next 6 months during normal delivery operations in these diverse weather environments.”
The USPS will reportedly be announcing the winner of the NGDV contract sometime in early 2018. Notably, if a plug-in electric model is chosen as the winner, then the new USPS fleet would likely end up representing the biggest electric vehicle fleet anywhere in the world.
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