The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) finally delivered the news – the decade long contract for the next generation of postal delivery vehicles goes to Oshkosh, WI-based Oshkosh Defense.
Under the contract’s initial $482 million investment, Oshkosh Defense will finalize the production design of the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV), considered to serve as the most dramatic modernization of the USPS fleet in 30 years. The NGDV is a purpose-built, right-hand-drive vehicle for mail and package delivery — and Oshkosh will assemble 50,000 to 165,000 of them over 10 years.
Following in alignment with the growing trend towards electric vehicles (EVs), the new batch of NGDVs will either offer fuel-efficient internal combustion engines or battery electric powertrains, in addition to retrofit capabilities to keep pace with ongoing advances in EV technologies. The initial investment includes plant tooling and build-out for the U.S. manufacturing facility where final vehicle assembly will occur.
The contract is the first part of a multi-billion-dollar 10-year effort to replace the USPS’s aging fleet – one of the world’s largest with more than 230,000 vehicles in every class, including both purpose-built and commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) vehicles. The NGDV, along with other COTS vehicles, will replace and expand the current delivery fleet, which includes many vehicles that have been in service for 30 years. The award is an indefinite delivery contract, meaning that after an initial dollar commitment, USPS will have the ongoing ability to order more NGDV for the next ten years. The first NGDVs are estimated to appear on carrier routes in 2023.
“As the American institution that binds our country together, the U.S. Postal Service can have a bright and modern future if we make investments today that position us for excellence tomorrow,” said Postmaster General and USPS Chief Executive Officer Louis DeJoy in a statement. “The NGDV program expands our capacity for handling more package volume and supports our carriers with cleaner and more efficient technologies, more amenities, and greater comfort and security as they deliver every day on behalf of the American people.”
The NGDV vehicles will include air conditioning and heating, improved ergonomics, and some of the most advanced vehicle technology — including 360-degree cameras, advanced braking and traction control, air bags, a front- and rear-collision avoidance system that includes visual, audio warning, and automatic braking. The vehicles will also have increased cargo capacity to maximize efficiency and better accommodate higher package volumes stemming from the growth of eCommerce.
“Oshkosh operates with unparalleled commitment to those who depend on our products and services to build, protect and serve communities around the world. We are honored to have been selected by the USPS to support their important work by manufacturing American-made Next Generation Delivery Vehicles that will connect every home and business across the United States for decades to come,” said John Pfeifer, president and chief operating officer, Oshkosh Corp. in a news release.
Unlike many of the EV makers who have been jockeying for major contract opportunities, Oshkosh is not new to the scene. The company has been producing custom service oriented vehicles for over a century. A global leader in the design, production and sustainment of best-in-class military vehicles and mobility systems, Oshkosh is a pioneer of combat-ready vehicle solutions. The company develops and applies emerging technologies that advance troop safety and mission success.
“Our century-long history of delivering products to customers, operating in some of the most demanding and severe conditions on the planet, uniquely positions us to bring exceptional reliability, safety, and maintainability to USPS’s NGDVs,” said John Bryant, executive vice president, Oshkosh Corp., and president, Oshkosh Defense in a statement. “Partnering with trusted suppliers, we have developed a purpose-built solution to support the current and future needs of the USPS,” Bryant concluded. Production of the next generation delivery vehicle is expected to begin in 2023.