USPS Taps Ford’s E-Transit for Electrified Delivery Duty
"Hearst Magazines and Yahoo may earn commission or revenue on some items through these links."
Despite some initial hesitation, the US Postal Service has come around to the idea of electrification and has committed itself to add 66,000 battery-electric fleet vehicles in the next five years.
Ford will be the first manufacturer contracted by the federal agency, with an order of 9250 Ford E-Transits set to be delivered and in service by the end of this year.
Charging infrastructure will play a massive role in the Postal Service's electric capabilities, with the agency announcing a 14,000-charger purchase in conjunction with the E-Transit contract.
The mail must get through, to paraphrase the creed of the United States Postal Service, and it takes a lot of work to deliver 425.3 million pieces of mail each day. To move that many letters, parcels, and packages around the world, the USPS has the single largest federal fleet, with over 225,000 vehicles. That's about 34% of the entire federal fleet of about 645,047 vehicles.
With President Joe Biden set on electrifying the domestic automotive industry and the USPS employing an increasingly aging fleet, it seems only natural the post office would be one of the first to go electric. But making that transition will take time, as the agency remained committed to purchasing 150,000 new internal-combustion mail trucks as recently as February 2022, despite pleas from the EPA and the Biden administration.
However, following a December 2022 announcement, the USPS has changed its tune and is adding 66,000 electric delivery trucks in the next five years as well as committing to all-electric fleet purchases by 2026.
And now Ford is the first manufacturer tapped for duty since this announcement, with the post office purchasing 9250 all-electric Ford E-Transits vans for delivery work. The E-Transits will remain left-hand-drive and will be specifically outfitted for urban parcel delivery, similar to the battery-electric vans employed by logistics giants Amazon and FedEx.
"Ford is proud to support the United States Postal Service in delivering a more sustainable future for America by electrifying their fleet with over 9200 E-Transit vans through the end of 2024. Built by our dedicated UAW workforce at the Kansas City Assembly Plant, vehicles will be operated by the largest electric fleet in the country serving communities on every street corner," said Jim Farley, Ford president and CEO.
The press release from the USPS also says the agency will rapidly replace 9250 of its ICE delivery vans with newer versions that remain gasoline powered, though it declined to say which manufacturer it has contracted for this. Currently, the USPS uses the Ram ProMaster Van and the Mercedes Metris as its main ICE delivery vans.
To keep its growing electric fleet on the road, the Postal Service is also announcing the purchase of 14,000 charging stations provided by Blink Charging, Siemens, and Rexel USA. These chargers will be installed across at least 75 locations within the next 12 months, and the agency plans to expand its charging infrastructure to many additional facilities.
"We are moving forward with our plans to simultaneously improve our service, reduce our cost, grow our revenue, and improve the working environment for our employees. Electrification of our vehicle fleet is now an important component of these initiatives," said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
Of the 66,000 BEVs the USPS has committed to buying, about 45,000 will be "Next Generation Delivery Vehicles," a BEV redesign of the classic, right-hand-drive mail truck from Oshkosh Defense. With the 9250 Ford E-Transit vans added to that number, the Postal Service still has around 11,000 BEV units left to purchase. In total, the agency plans to invest $9.6 billion into its electrification program, with $3 billion of that coming from Inflation Reduction Act funds.
It's not surprising Ford was one of the first manufacturers contracted for electrification. For one, Ford's E-Transit was used as an example of an "off-the-shelf" EV when the agency was considering its electrification strategy. Additionally, despite a few hiccups, Ford is quickly building its EV reputation and aims to take on the likes of Tesla as it secures additional battery development deals. And while the build-out of these USPS E-Transits will take interior retrofitting and paintwork, we can expect to see Postal Service-branded electric vans by the end of the year.