USPS Starts Nationwide Electric Vehicle Fleet

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CBS News: The U.S. Postal Service’s plans for a nationwide fleet of electric vehicles are getting closer to being realized. The service awarded contracts on Tuesday for 9,250 battery electric vehicles and for more than 14,000 charging stations. The vehicles purchased are Ford E-Transit Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), which according to USPS are “100 percent electric.” It’s part of the agency’s plans, announced in December, to make 75% of its newly acquired vehicles, known as Next Generation Delivery Vehicles, over the next five years electric. After 2026, NGDV purchases will be 100% electric, the agency said. The goal is to have a fleet of 66,000 electric vehicles deployed by 2028.

Three suppliers were awarded contracts for more than 14,000 charging stations, as well, USPS said, to kick off its Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) inventory. However, the agency did note that the contracts they just awarded will not provide an immediate supply. The vehicles won’t be delivered until December, assuming that the agency successfully finishes its Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and other necessary tasks. It also remains unclear where the vehicles and charging stations will be placed, as those details have yet to be finalized, the agency said.

As such, a contract has also been awarded for the agency to acquire 9,250 commercial-off-the-shelf internal combustion engine vehicles “to fill the urgent need for vehicles.” In December, the agency said that 21,000 COTS vehicles will be purchased and are “expected to be battery electric,” but said that depends “on market availability and operational feasibility.” In this case, the internal combustion engine vehicles will be gas-powered and made by Fiat Chrysler Automobile, a spokesperson for USPS told CBS News. They added that, unlike older USPS vehicles, these will “feature air conditioning and advanced safety technology and are more suited to modern day operational requirements.” “We have an urgent need to replace some of our vehicles as soon as possible, and in those instances we will look to obtain vehicles that can be provided to us expeditiously, recognizing that there are a limited amount of BEV options currently available and that the charging infrastructure buildout will also take some time,” they said in an email.

“…Today there remain routes and applications which do not support BEVs. As BEV technology matures and capabilities increase, the Postal Service will continue to review its ability to utilize and expand BEV usage.”

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