Next Generation Delivery Vehicle Could Be Huge:
‘Half of the Prototypes Will Feature Hybrid and New
Technologies, Including Alternative Fuel Capabilities’
The U.S. Post Office has narrowed the field for its New General Delivery Vehicle procurement to six candidates, all of which now have a year to produce 50 prototype vehicles for evaluation. Hybrid, electric and alternative fuel vehicles are eligible.
The stakes are potentially enormous, as USPS is expected to purchase hundreds of thousands of NGDVs (F&F, April 27, 2015).
Workhorse (working with body manufacturer VT Hackney) and AM General have publicized their position among the six winners. The list also includes Karsan, Mahindra, Oshkosh, and Utilimaster.
Contracts Worth $37.4 Million
The six firms have been designated for contract awards valued at $37.4 million. They may team or subcontract with additional suppliers, USPS says.
“Half of the prototypes will feature hybrid and new technologies, including alternative fuel capabilities,” states the award announcement. “The prototypes will represent a variety of vehicle sizes and drive configurations, in addition to advanced powertrains and a range of hybrid technologies.”
A 200,000-Vehicle Fleet
“The postal service operates a fleet of over 200,000 vehicles in all areas of the United States and its territories,” states a Workhorse release. “Approximately 160,000 of these vehicles are right hand drive, light-duty carrier route vehicles purchased between 1987 and 2001. The Postal Service intends to replace its right hand drive vehicle fleet in the coming years.”
“The USPS wants a vehicle to operate efficiently and economically for 20 years,” said Workhorse CEO Steve Burns. “The Hackney/Workhorse team has designed a safe and ergonomic vehicle with a drivetrain that is built-to-last and will deliver efficiencies of operation,” he said.
AM General says it will build a series of prototype vehicles “that seek to provide fuel efficiency and zero emission capability.”
‘The Needs of Today & Tomorrow’
“AM General’s advanced postal vehicle is designed to meet the needs of the Postal Service of today and of tomorrow,” AM General commercial business executive VP Howard Glaser said in his company’s announcement. “Our design offers the postal service unmatched innovation and the opportunity for significant savings on costs, maintenance and delivery operations,” he said.
AM General noted that USPS is experiencing significant changes in delivery operations, as the number of packages it delivered grew from 3.7 billion pieces in 2013 to 4.5 billion in 2015. “The AM General advanced postal vehicle is designed to grow with the new demands in delivery on the postal service and ensure that the USPS can manage the changing mail mix with improvements in safety, efficiency, and reliability – and flexibility in every area.”
Off-the-Shelf Is an Option Too
USPS says that the competing companies will have approximately one year from contract award to develop and produce their prototypes. The vehicles will then be tested “during a period of approximately six months in a range of different climates, topography, population centers and delivery environments.
“The tests will help demonstrate the ability of the proposed designs to meet our operational needs, including the need to deliver to mailboxes across the United States.”
USPS said too that it’s preparing an RFP for commercial off-the-shelf, right-hand drive delivery vehicles. “The Postal Service seeks to explore a wide variety of available options during this research phase, and will evaluate any commercial off-the-shelf vehicles proposed as a result of this RFP as we continue to assess the delivery fleet mix.
‘Honor Our Commitment’
“Our goal,” the announcement concludes, “is to obtain vehicles that will help us provide reliable and efficient delivery service for customers and honor our commitment to reducing the environmental impact of our fleet, while meeting the needs of our employees to best do their jobs safely.
“The Postal Service currently operates a diverse fleet including left-hand drive, multiple sized and alternative fuel vehicles. In addition to the NGDV process and the commercial, off-the-shelf, right-hand-drive RFP, we are deploying commercially-available vehicles including cargo vans and mixed delivery vehicles on an ongoing basis to supplement delivery needs.”
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Source: USPS, Workhorse, AM General, with Fleets & Fuels follow-up