The US Postal Service is buying 9,250 Ford E-Transit battery-electric vehicles and 14,000 EV charging stations from three different suppliers as part of its plans to electrify a large portion of its mail delivery fleet. In an announcement post on Tuesday, the agency said it hasn’t finalized plans for where the vehicles and infrastructure will be deployed but intends to “begin building out its charging infrastructure across a minimum of 75 locations within the next 12 months.”
The chargers will help power a growing number of EVs. In December, the USPS announced its plans to add 66,000 electric vehicles to its fleet by 2028. While around 45,000 of those will be “Next Generation Delivery Vehicles” (NGDV) manufactured by Oshkosh, the agency said it also planned to incorporate 21,000 commercial off-the-shelf EVs. The E-Transits will make up around 44 percent of those commercial vehicles.
It’s not necessarily a surprise that the USPS went with the E-Transit, despite the agency saying that it went through “a competitive search” to select it. For one, Ford is also involved in the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle project, providing engines and other components to Oshkosh. And when the USPS was considering commercial alternatives to the NGDV for an environmental impact statement, it used the E-Transit as an example of a commercial off-the-shelf EV.
The USPS has been taking a long and meandering path toward electrification. In 2021, when it announced its plan to upgrade its aging fleet, it also said that only 10 percent of the new vehicles would be battery-powered EVs, with the rest using internal combustion engines. The plan drew heavy criticism and spawned a lawsuit from 16 states aiming to block the purchase.
Since then, the USPS has slowly raised the number of EVs it plans to order. In July 2022, it estimated that at least 40 percent of its new purchases would be electric, and in December, it said it was exploring the “feasibility of achieving 100% electrification.” The agency says that it expects to invest around $9.6 billion into the initiative and expects pretty much every vehicle it buys after 2026 to be electric.
The USPS says that it should start receiving the E-Transits in December, assuming everything goes to plan. Last year, it said that the new Next Generation Delivery Vehicles should be servicing mail routes by the end of the year.