Neither snow nor rain nor warmth nor local weather change stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.
On Tuesday, the US Postal Service announced that it plans to purchase 106,000 new autos by 2028, of which 66,000 will run on electrical energy and produce zero greenhouse fuel emissions. The $9.6 billion funding for mail vehicles and chargers, together with $3 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act, may quickly give the Postal Service the most important electrical fleet within the US.
An enormous bulk buy like this stands to maneuver your entire EV market, spurring demand for your entire electrical automobile provide chain, from batteries to semiconductors. The economies of scale may then decrease the price of these autos for everybody, making it simpler to decarbonize transportation, the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions within the US.
But it surely’s not the environmental bona fides of EVs that gained over Postmaster Basic Louis DeJoy. “The largest factor was monetary potential and operational suitability,” he informed reporters exterior the US Postal Service headquarters in Washington, DC.
The Postal Service has been in search of new vehicles for years. With greater than 220,000 vehicles, USPS operates about one-third of all autos within the US authorities fleet, which is the most important on this planet.
USPS additionally has the oldest federal fleet. Its iconic workhorse, the Grumman LLV, went out of manufacturing in 1994 but continues to fill 1000’s of mail routes throughout the nation. The austere little truck will get simply 10 miles per gallon and doesn’t even have air con. The dearth of AC is definitely a severe concern for letter carriers. Extreme warmth is a significant drawback on mail routes, and postal workers have died delivering mail throughout warmth waves. And in an period of rising common temperatures and better gasoline costs, 10 miles per gallon is abysmal.
The Postal Service has been coping with monetary constraints as nicely. The company isn’t funded by taxes and as an alternative has to recoup prices by promoting its providers. In 2006, Congress required USPS to prepay health benefits for its retired employees, a regulation that frontloaded large bills and ate into the company’s working funds. Earlier this 12 months, Congress revoked that mandate and reformed the USPS’s funds.
The USPS additionally confronted criticism for mail delays and cost-cutting measures underneath DeJoy, who was appointed by then-President Trump in 2020. Earlier this 12 months, USPS introduced plans to purchase extra vehicles, however initially solely 10 % have been slated to be electrical. Environmental activists and 16 states sued the company to attempt to block the acquisition of such numerous new fossil fuel-powered vehicles and vans. By the summer time, the USPS upped its share of recent EVs by 40 percent. With further funding from the IRA, USPS set its sights even increased this week.
The brand new Postal Service autos can be a mixture of completely different platforms from varied producers. About 21,000 can be electrical variations of vans and vehicles already obtainable from producers like Ford. The largest share of recent autos, nonetheless, belongs to what the USPS calls the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV). Constructed by Oshkosh Protection — a navy contractor that additionally makes MRAPs — this duck-shaped 4-ton truck has a fivehead of a windshield, a walk-in cargo space, and, sure, air con. The USPS expects to purchase a minimum of 60,000 NGDVs, with a minimum of 45,000 working on electrical energy.
Whereas electrical passenger automobiles get a number of consideration, the autos purchased in bulk stand to have the most important impression on the financial system and the atmosphere, as Recode’s Rebecca Heilweil defined:
They will take far more trips in a week than a typical passenger automobile in a single day, which signifies that changing one in every of these autos with an EV can have an outsized impact on lowering carbon emissions. As a result of these autos typically journey on mounted routes, it may also be simpler to arrange a network of EV chargers to maintain them powered. The general concept is that by transitioning a collection of autos unexpectedly, fleets can decrease general prices and lay the groundwork for electrifying transportation at scale.
For the USPS, although, electrification is a component of a bigger plan to fulfill its mission to ship mail to 163 million addresses six days every week, in keeping with DeJoy. Selecting up, transferring, and delivering tens of millions of letters, payments, toys, and paperwork is a vastly energy-intensive course of.
“Each greenback that I spend, I burn carbon,” DeJoy mentioned on Tuesday. “So each greenback that I save truly reduces carbon.”
He famous that USPS could make even greater environmental beneficial properties by optimizing its workflow, making certain that vehicles all the time go away depots full, minimizing the quantity of mail that’s carried by air, automating operations, and consolidating services.
For its half, the White House celebrated the announcement. President Biden set a goal of creating half of all new automobiles bought within the US electrical by 2030 and cited the electrical mail truck for instance of the IRA in motion. So for Biden’s local weather change agenda, the USPS is beginning to ship.