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U.S. Postal Service makes major electric vehicle commitment

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The U.S. Postal Service is adding battery electric vehicles to its delivery fleet.

The U.S. Postal Service has big near-term plans involving battery electric delivery vehicles.

As part of a larger 106,000-vehicle acquisition plan for deliveries between 2022 and 2028, the Postal Service expects to acquire at least 66,000 battery electric delivery vehicles. The vehicles purchased as part of this anticipated plan will begin to replace the Postal Service's aging delivery fleet of over 220,000 vehicles.

The Postal Service anticipates it will acquire at least 60,000 next generation delivery vehicles (NGDV), of which at least 75% (45,000) will be battery electric. A total of 21,000 additional commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) vehicles are also expected to be battery electric, depending on market availability and operational feasibility.

The Postal Service also anticipates including internal combustion vehicles necessary to meet immediate vehicle replacement needs. According to the Postal Service, unlike the vehicles they are replacing, its new delivery vehicles will feature air conditioning and advanced safety technology For any COTS vehicles it purchases, the Postal Service will include a preference for domestic manufacturing. 

"We have a statutory requirement to deliver mail and packages to 163 million addresses six days per week and to cover our costs in doing so – that is our mission,” said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. “As I have said in the past, if we can achieve those objectives in a more environmentally responsible way, we will do so.

"What is less widely understood is that our network modernization initiative is necessary to enable this vehicle electrification and will also provide meaningful cost and carbon reductions in other ways,” DeJoy said. “A key focus of our modernization effort is to reduce inefficient transportation and improve distribution operations, resulting in far less air cargo and far fewer truck trips. When combined with our substantial commitment to the electrification of our delivery vehicles, the Postal Service will be at the forefront of our nation's green initiatives." 

By May 2023, the agency will publish for public notice and comment a draft supplemental environmental impact statement (EIS) that will assess the potential environmental impacts of vehicle purchase alternatives, likely including those from the new announced electric vehicle plan. New NGDVs are expected to start servicing postal routes in late 2023.

Amazon, FedEx phase in electric vehicles

The Postal Service is not making electric vehicles a major part of its delivery strategy in a vacuum. Two of its biggest private-sector delivery competitors, Amazon (which is building out its proprietary delivery capability to provide an alternative to other public and private delivery services) and FedEx, are also actively pursuing electric vehicles for their delivery fleets.

Amazon has reached a goal it set in July 2022 to deploy electric vans it designed and built in partnership with manufacturer Rivian to deliver packages in over 100 U.S. cities. This 1,000-vehicle rollout is the beginning of what Amazon expects to grow into a fleet of 100,000 custom electric delivery vehicles across the U.S. by 2030.

Meanwhile, FedEx is underway with a program to reach global carbon-neutral operations by 2040, FedEx Corp. is designating more than $2 billion of initial investment in three key areas: vehicle electrification, sustainable energy, and carbon sequestration. By 2040, the entire FedEx parcel pickup and delivery (PUD) fleet will be zero-emission electric vehicles. 

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