One in five of the U.S. Postal Service’s first shipment of next-generation delivery vehicles will be electric, officials said Thursday.
The Postal Service officially placed its initial order, valued at $2.98 billion (approximately doubling the number of electric vehicles from the original plan). The first of the new vehicles are expected to be on delivery routes late next year.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said the Postal Service has delivered on its promise to accelerate EV purchases based on financial prospects and strategic considerations.
“Today’s order shows, as we’ve been saying all along, that the Postal Service is fully committed to including electric vehicles as a significant part of our delivery fleet,” he said, even though they represent a more expensive investment than internal combustion vehicles.
US Representative Carolyn Maloney, chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, said she appreciates the larger share of electric vehicles. But it’s not enough, she said.
“The Postal Service must prioritize the acquisition of electric vehicles or it will be stuck with outdated technology that will continue to pollute our environment for decades,” said Maloney, Diocese of New York.
The post office is in the process of replacing the ubiquitous delivery vans that entered service between 1987 and 1994.
In total, the postal service’s fleet includes 190,000 local delivery vehicles. More than 141,000 of these are old models that lack safety features such as airbags, anti-lock braking systems and reversing cameras.
The new vehicles are taller to make it easier for mail carriers to pick up larger-volume parcels and packages. They also have improved ergonomics and climate control.
It would cost an additional US$3.3 billion (approximately Rs. 25147.98 crore) to convert the entire postal service fleet to electric vehicles. The money for it was included in Biden’s Build Back Better plan, which stalled in Congress.