The United States Postal Service isn't pinning all its electrification hopes on next-gen mail delivery vehicles. The service has signed a contract to buy 9,250 Ford E-Transit electric vans, with the first units arriving in December. The handover should be complete by the end of 2024, Ford adds. The USPS is also placing its early orders for over 14,000 charging stations for its facilities across the country.
The USPS already plans to buy at least 60,000 of its Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDV) by 2028, with 75 percent of them being electric. The Ford vans are part of an additional plan to buy 21,000 "off-the-shelf" EVs. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy says this helps the USPS quickly act on a strategy that improves mail service and working conditions while keeping costs down for the self-sufficient agency. The total vehicle investment is expected to cost $9.6 billion, including $3 billion in funding thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act.
The charging network may not grow as quickly. The USPS expects to provide chargers to at least 75 locations within the next year, but doesn't estimate how it will expand in following years.
The overall EV push represents a sharp break from the initial plans. The USPS originally expected that most of its NGDV orders would be for gas-based trucks. The Biden administration fought that approach, claiming that the USPS under DeJoy ignored Environmental Protection Agency advice, rejected public hearings and relied on "biased" estimates. The service challenged the administration before relenting and shifting most of its purchases to electric models.
The transition will play an important part in the government's plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions for itself and the country at large. The USPS represents the largest federal vehicle fleet — its EV purchases will have a significant impact relative to other agencies.