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This article was published on February 24, 2021


US Postal Service gets a military tank-maker to create ‘ugly’ new delivery EVs

Which is uglier? This or the Rivian delviery truck?

US Postal Service gets a military tank-maker to create ‘ugly’ new delivery EVs
Matthew Beedham
Story by

Matthew Beedham

Editor, SHIFT by TNW

Matthew is the editor of SHIFT. He likes electric cars, and other things with wheels, wings, or hulls. Matthew is the editor of SHIFT. He likes electric cars, and other things with wheels, wings, or hulls.

Yeah, you read that headline correctly. Even though it seems to make absolutely no sense, it’s 2021 and the world is on fire, so let’s see what’s happening.

The United States Postal Service announced yesterday that it has signed, sealed, and delivered a 10-year-long, multi-billion dollar contract to Oshkosh Defense to electrify its vehicle fleet Over its life, the deal is expected to be worth around $6 billion, Autoblog reports.

For the uninitiated, Oshkosh Defense is a military vehicle maker that usually produces armored vehicles for warzones. Clearly, it’s the perfect fit for delivering parcels to houses along America’s suburban streets.

I suppose it’s not that insane. Oshkosh knows how to build unique vehicles for a dedicated purpose. It’s even reportedly planning on working with American automaker Ford on its plans for an all-electric Transit van.

[Read: How do you build a pet-friendly gadget? We asked experts and animal owners]

That sounds great, but sadly the USPS’ focus isn’t entirely on electrifying its fleet. The contract with Oshkosh will see the delivery of between 50,000 and 165,000 vehicles over its 10-year period, which will be a mix of 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 using now. Even a goddam armored personnel carrier.

The possible design for the new USPS delivery vehicles are already dividing opinion, with Politico’s Sam Mintz running a quick Twitter poll — the majority saying the van is an “ugly duckling”.

The USPS does say that its new vehicles could be retrofitted with electric vehicle technologies in due course. It’s not exactly clear what it means by that, but presumably it’s suggesting it could switch out the combustion engine for a battery and motors in the future.

Alongside many mechanical upgrades the new USPS vehicles will include air con, heating, and improved vehicle safety features like airbags and surround-view cameras.

Expect to start seeing them on US roads in 2023. And don’t worry, you don’t have to run for cover when you see one of these on the horizon.


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