WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has awarded a division of Oshkosh Corp. a 10-year, multibillion-dollar contract to produce a new generation of postal delivery vehicles.
Oshkosh, through its Oshkosh Defense unit, won out over five other companies vying for the contract, which calls for the delivery of up to 165,000 vehicles over 10 years to replace the Postal Service's aging fleet of mail-delivery vehicles.
Under terms of the initial $482 million, Oshkosh Defense will finalize the production design of the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV), a right-hand-drive vehicle for mail and package delivery. The vehicles will be equipped with either fuel-efficient internal-combustion engines or battery-electric powertrains and can be retrofitted to keep pace with advances in electric vehicle technologies, the Postal Service said.
The initial investment includes plant tooling and build-out for the U.S. manufacturing facility where final vehicle assembly will occur. The first NGDVs are expected to appear on carrier routes in 2023.
The USPS operates a fleet of more than 200,000 vehicles, approximately 163,000 of which are considered "long-life vehicles" (LLVs) purchased between 1987 and 2001. The service also uses vans, 2-ton vehicles, alternative fuel vehicles and tractor trailers.
The selection of the Oshkosh design will mean changes for tire companies considering supplying the new design, prototypes of which were spotted running on tires larger than the 14- and 15-inch tires used on the current-generation LLVs.
Federal regulations require new tires to be installed on the front wheels of vehicles, and Postal Service policy recommends retreaded tires be installed on the rear wheels of all PVS vehicles, the USPS said in a 2019 audit of tire usage.
Oshkosh declined at this time to share specifics of the vehicle's drivetrain, but did say it will include an array of safety features, such as 360-degree cameras, traction control, front- and rear-collision warning and improved ergonomics along with increased cargo capacity.
The design/performance criteria for the new-generation delivery vehicles included a service life of 18 to 20 years, right-hand steering with two-wheel drive, a van-style body with integral cargo and cab compartment, sliding side doors and a minimum 1,500-pound payload capacity with 330 to 400 cubic feet of cargo space.
Oshkosh, Wis.-based Oshkosh Defense's primary business is developing and producing military vehicles and mobility systems.