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The U.S. Postal Service announced March 24 it ordered more than 10,000 new electric delivery trucks, up from the 5,000 the agency had initially planned to purchase.
It’s part of the service’s initial $2.98 billion order of 50,000 new delivery vehicles from Oshkosh Corp. as part of a contract to replace its 30-year-old fleet.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said in a statement that the agency has been evaluating its financial outlook and the potential use of EVs over the last year and a half.
“Based upon this work and our improving outlook, we have determined that increasing our initial electric vehicle purchase from 5,000 to 10,019 makes good sense from an operational and financial perspective,” he said.
The order demonstrates “that the Postal Service is fully committed to the inclusion of electric vehicles as a significant part of our delivery fleet even though the investment will cost more than an internal combustion engine vehicle.”
The original plan finalized in February 2021 awarded an initial $482 million to Oshkosh and announced the agency planned to order up to 165,000 vehicles worth $6 billion over the next decade.
But only 10% of the vehicles under the contract would be required to be battery-electric, while the remaining 90% could be gas-powered.
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The change comes after the Biden administration criticized the Postal Service’s technical analysis of emissions impacts and argued it overestimated the long-term cost of EVs.
The Environmental Protection Agency asked USPS to halt the contract and conduct a new analysis, but the agency refused and insisted more funds would be needed to increase the number of EVs in the fleet.
Shortly after entering office, Biden pledged to convert the federal fleet to all zero-emission vehicles by 2035. Biden doesn’t have direct control over the USPS, but Postal Service vehicles make up around a third of all of the vehicles in the federal fleet.
“We must make fiscally prudent decisions in the needed introduction of a new vehicle fleet,” DeJoy added in the statement. “We will continue to look for opportunities to increase the electrification of our delivery fleet in a responsible manner.”
The new vehicles are expected to be deployed by late 2023, the Postal Service said.