Yes, you read that heading correctly. While it doesn’t seem to make absolutely any sense, it’s 2021 and the world is on fire. Lets see what happens.
The United States Postal Service announced yesterday that it has signed, sealed, and shipped to Oshkosh Defense a 10-year multi-billion dollar contract to electrify its vehicle fleet. Autoblog reports that it is expected to be worth around $ 6 billion over the course of its term.
For the uninitiated, Oshkosh Defense is a military vehicle maker that typically makes armored vehicles for use in war zones. It’s clearly the perfect solution for delivering packages to homes on the suburban streets of America.
I suppose it’s not that crazy. Oshkosh knows how to build unique vehicles for a specific purpose. There are even plans to work with American automaker Ford on their plans for an all-electric transit van.[Read: How do you build a pet-friendly gadget? We asked experts and animal owners]
That sounds good, but unfortunately the USPS isn’t just focusing on electrifying its fleet. The contract with Oshkosh provides for the delivery of 50,000 to 165,000 vehicles over a 10-year period, which will be a mix of internal combustion engine and battery electric vehicles.
Given that the average USPS vehicle is nearly 30 years old, literally anything would be better than what the delivery service is currently using. Even a goddamn armored people carrier.
The possible design for the new USPS delivery vehicles is already divided. Politico’s Sam Mintz conducts a quick Twitter poll – the majority say the van is an “ugly duckling”.
Let’s get some highly polarized answers to these questions. This design is:
– Sam Mintz (@samjmintz) February 23, 2021
The USPS says its new vehicles could be retrofitted with electric vehicle technologies in due course. It’s not exactly clear what it means by this, but presumably it suggests that the internal combustion engine could be swapped out for a battery and motors in the future.
In addition to many mechanical improvements, the new USPS vehicles will include air conditioning, heating and improved vehicle safety features such as airbags and surround view cameras.
Expect to see them on U.S. roads from 2023. And don’t worry, you don’t have to take cover if you see one of these on the horizon.
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Published on February 24, 2021 – 09:21 UTC