The United States Postal Service said in its December 2021 Environmental Impact Statement report that committing to a fully-electric fleet of 75,000 mail delivery vehicles would require an additional $2.3 billion investment. Additionally, the USPS may not be willing to commit to more than ten percent of its new fleet to electric powertrains as the government agency says it “is not achievable.”
The report was published on January 7th and details potential alternatives to its plan to purchase between 50,000 and 165,000 new vehicles that will “replace existing delivery vehicles nationwide that have reached the end of their service life.” In February 2021, the USPS announced a contract award to Oshkosh Defense, LLC for the production of the “Next-Generation Delivery Vehicles,” or NGDVs. The NGDVs will consist of at least 10 of having battery-electric powertrains. The remainder would have internal combustion engines.
The USPS is considering alternatives for comparison, which include 100 percent of the new vehicles being “commercial-off-the-shelf” (COTS) ICE vehicles, or 100 percent COTS electric cars. These are referred to in the report as Alternative 1.1 and 1.2, respectfully.
The current plan is for the USPS to begin replacing between 50,000 to 165,000 new vehicles. Ten percent will be EVs, at the minimum. The plan will take ten years to complete and will begin in 2023, as the first NGDV will make deliveries sometime in 2023. “The actual timeline and quantities of NGDV purchased and delivery vehicle types replaced would be contingent upon the Postal Service’s operational needs, including individual carrier route needs, and financial position,” the report says.
However, it appears unlikely that the USPS will commit to increasing the share of EVs in its fleet due to affordability reasons. In its report, it states that, while it understands BEVs are better for the environment, funding would not allow the USPS to make any significant changes to the current plan. The USPS states that its preferred alternative is actually the Proposed Action, which is to purchase and deploy up to 90 percent ICE NGDVs with 10 percent BEV NGDVs. “This Preferred Alternative is also the most achievable given the Postal Service’s financial condition, as the ICE NGDV is significantly less expensive than the BEV NGDV and does not have the same route length and other operational constraints as the BEVs. Finally, the 90 percent ICE NGDV Preferred Alternative would result in less fuel consumption and reduced direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions as compared to the existing delivery vehicles being replaced,” the report adds.
Realizing that a full fleet of BEVs is better for the environment, as it would reduce “about 200 percent fewer direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions than the 90 percent ICE NGDV” plan, the financial situation does not allow for it. The USPS says that “committing to purchase more than 10 percent BEV NGDV as part of the Preferred Alternative is not achievable, absent additional funding, as the 100 percent BEV NGDV Preferred Alternative is $2.3 billion more expensive than the 90 percent ICE NGDV Preferred Alternative for an order of 75,000 vehicles.” If the USPS wanted to transition all 165,000 vehicles to BEV powertrains, it would cost an additional $1 billion.
The USPS does have a third alternative: No action. The Postal Service will likely not commit to this option, but it does state that, “Utility service and infrastructure in place at Postal Service facilities currently are meeting service demands.”
The full report is available below.
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