The U.S. Postal Service said Tuesday that it would acquire at least 66,000 battery-electric delivery vehicles over the next six years, doubling its fleet electrification targets from what it had forecast five months ago.
In addition, the Postal Service said it will explore the feasibility of fully electrifying its total delivery fleet, which currently stands at 220,000 trucks.
As part of what will be a $9.6 billion investment, the Postal Service said it will purchase at least 60,000 next-generation delivery vehicles from Oshkosh Defense Corp. over the next six years. Of those, at least 45,000 trucks will be electric. The agency also said it will acquire 21,000 battery-electric vehicles from various commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) vendors, preferably located in the United States.
EVs will compose all new vehicle acquisitions between 2026 and 2028, the Postal Service said. The new vehicles will begin entering service by late 2023. In turn, the Postal Service will phase out its fleet of aged, boxy delivery vehicles, which are very inefficient and considered by some experts to pose hazards to their drivers.
The Postal Service upped its EV investment after receiving $3 billion in funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law in mid-August, to support new vehicle acquisition and infrastructure development. Most of the EV funding will still come from Postal Service revenues, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said.
In late July, the Postal Service said it planned to acquire 84,000 vehicles, of which 40% were to be battery powered.
The combination of the additional funding, progress in its network modernization strategy and its improving financial condition spurred the Postal Service to take the steps announced on Tuesday, DeJoy said.
DeJoy has said for many months that an increased EV investment would depend on the Postal Service being placed on sound financial footing and on progress in streamlining its vast and complex processing and delivery network. A key focus of the modernization effort was to shift deliveries from expensive and unreliable air cargo to more surface transportation.
The Postal Service has come a long way since the start of the year in its EV investment. In February, it said that it would acquire up to 165,000 next-generation vehicles, of which at least 10% would be battery powered.