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EV Group Opposes USPS Fleet Manufacturer

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March 15, 2021—Just last month, U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced a $482 million investment with OshKosh Defense to craft the next generation of delivery vehicles, angering those who expected a further commitment to electrifying the postal fleet. 

Joe Britton, executive director of the Zero Emission Transportation Association, called DeJoy’s decision in a press release “a reckless misstep” and “a new low.” 

“U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is trying to lock our postal vehicle fleet into decades of carbon-intensive transportation. This directly conflicts with the Administration’s stated goals and is certain to see swift pushback from appropriators who have sought to drive USPS vehicle electrification,” noted the press release. 

ADAPT reached out to Britton to get the full story and what ZETA plans to do about it.   

 

Was OshKosh Defense the wrong choice?

Based out of Wisconsin, OshKosh Defense specializes in manufacturing tactical and defense vehicles. According to its website, the vehicle types it manufactures include light, medium and heavy tactical vehicles, a variety of ATVs, and a wheeled tanker. 

Britton said the choice to sign with OshKosh Defense was a direct contradiction to the Biden Administration’s recent announcement to electrify the U.S. federal fleet.  

“I am suspicious if any electric vehicles will materialize out of this contract,” Britton said. “OshKosh Defense makes Humvees, they don’t make EVs.” 

 

What are the consequences?

Aside from the obvious environmental boons, Britton said electric vehicles will cost much less for the USPS over time than traditional internal combustion engine vehicles.

Britton said the analysis conducted by the postal service only looked at vehicles over a 10 to 15 year lifespan, which is half the lifespan of an electric vehicle. 

One of the biggest concerns about electric vehicles is where the lithium-ion batteries go once they have expired, but Britton said they can serve a use even post-mortem. 

“Even if the battery from the car is no longer functioning ideally, you can stack them on top of each other and use them. The electricity that would be used for the car can now be utility storage on a large-level scale,” he said.  

 

What does ZETA wish would have happened?

Workhorse, an Ohio based company that designs and produces battery-electric delivery vehicles, also had a bid in for the multi-million dollar contract, Britton said.  

“DeJoy had an EV option on his desk and he chose not to do it,” he said “There has been a credible worry that [DeJoy] doesn’t have the USPS’s best interest in mind and this decision, to me, does not look like it has the best interest in mind.” 

 

What are ZETA’s next steps?

Britton said ZETA plans to join forces with its congressional members, who are “equally as frustrated” to put growing public pressure to rework the process for the USPS’s next generation of delivery vehicles. 

When asked if ZETA’s members, including Tesla, RIVIAN, Xcel Energy, and Uber, plan to voice their shared disapproval of the decision, Britton said, “We’re a public interest nonprofit and our goal is electrification.” 

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