Your Mail Delivery May Soon Be Zero-Emissions

By
Laurance Yap
Updated:
Jan 2023
Time to Read:
3
min
The United States Postal Service's mail delivery fleet is one of the oldest in the country. The Service has just announced plans to replace 66,000 of its 220,000 vehicles with battery-electric vehicles customized for postal delivery. The first ones will hit the road in late 2023.
Woman checking her mail
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66,000 New Electric Delivery Vehicles

The U.S. Postal Service has announced significant plans to upgrade its delivery fleet. Between 2023 and 2028, the service will be purchasing 106,000 vehicles, of which 66,000 will be battery-electric powered. The vehicles will begin to replace older vehicles in the Postal Service’s aging fleet of 220,000 gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles.

Most of the new electric vehicles will be the so-called Next-Generation Delivery Vehicle – designed specifically for the Postal Service’s needs. Additionally, 21,000 electric-powered “off the shelf” vehicles will also be purchased and adapted for USPS use. The remainder of the new vehicles will be internal-combustion vehicles, to meet specific vehicle replacement needs.

In addition to zero emissions, Postal Service workers will enjoy a much nicer driving experience. Electric power means a swifter, smoother, quieter ride than the slow, clattering, and vibrating vehicles they replace. Unlike the vehicles they are replacing, the new electric delivery vehicles will also feature advanced safety technology. The USPS has also indicated a preference for domestic manufacturing.

Mail man bringing packages to USPS truck

Modernizing Mail Delivery

The U.S. Postal Service is on a mission to modernize its network. Its fleet is aging, and demand for deliveries has grown significantly over the last several years. The Service delivers mail packages to 163 million addresses in the U.S., six days per week. The rising cost of gasoline means that the cost of delivering all of those packages has made it more difficult to cover its costs. Going electric actually helps the Postal Service achieve its business objectives in a more environmentally responsible way.

The deployment of all these electric delivery vehicles is also enabled by the U.S. government’s Inflation Reduction Act. Introduced in August, the Act extended the $7,500 purchase incentive for certain made-in-North America EVs and hybrids, introduced a $4,000 incentive for used, sub-$25,000 EVs and hybrids, and also included $3 billion in congressional funding for the modernization of commercial vehicle fleets. Most of the electric vehicle funding will come from Postal Service revenues, but the congressional funding certainly helps reduce the financial risk.

New USPS Mail truck

Ideal Use Case

The Postal Service says it will continue to evaluate and purchase vehicles over shorter time periods in order to be more responsive to changing conditions. EVs will provide more flexibility to adapt its operational strategy to changing market conditions. The increased availability of BEV options in the future may enable it to upgrade its fleet even faster.

Moreover, the use case of a delivery vehicle is a perfect fit for battery-electric. USPS delivery vehicles have a standard route that they drive every day, and return to a central depot in the evening, where they can be easily charged overnight.

A key focus of the USPS’ modernization effort is reducing inefficient transportation and improving distribution operation – which should result in far less air cargo usage, and far fewer truck trips. When combined with the electrification of its delivery vehicles, the Postal Service says it will be at the forefront of green initiatives in the U.S., and that its fleet has the potential to become the largest electric vehicle fleet in the nation.

The Next-Generation Delivery Vehicles are expected to start servicing postal routes in late 2023.

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