The US Postal Service said Wednesday that at least 40% of its new delivery vehicles will be electric, up from the 10% it had once committed to, following a backlash from the Biden administration and others.
Under the revised plan, the Postal Service would buy 33,800 electric vehicles, 25,000 of which will come from Oshkosh Defense, which designed a specific electric vehicle for the Postal Service’s needs. The other vehicles will be purchased “off the shelf,” meaning they aren’t purpose built for a single customer. Automakers like Ford, Mercedes-Benz and Rivian offer electric delivery vehicles, which are in high demand. Interest in electric vehicles has increased amid high fuel prices.
The new Postal Service vehicles are expected to begin servicing routes late next year, according to Postal Service spokesperson Sue Brennan.
The Postal Service’s initial plans, originally confirmed in February, had been criticized by the White House, the Environmental Protection Agency and US legislators. President Biden had called for half of vehicles sold by 2030 to be electric, and for government fleet vehicles to have zero tailpipe emissions.
Four US Senators have pushed legislation that would prohibit the Postal Service from purchasing non zero-emission vehicles. Attorneys general from 16 states, the District of Columbia and environmental groups sued the Postal Service in April to stop the purchase of gas-powered vehicles.
“Once this purchase goes through, we’ll be stuck with more than 100,000 new gas-guzzling vehicles on neighborhood streets, serving homes across our state and across the country, for the next 30 years,” California Attorney General Rob Bonta said at the time.
The Postal Service’s new electric vehicle from Oshkosh Defense includes many safety features that aren’t present in many of its current vehicles, including airbags. It will have more cargo space, which will come in handy as the Postal Service delivers more packages. The roof of the vehicle is tall enough to allow a mail carrier to stand in the back.
Paul LeBlanc and Ella Nilsen contributed to this report.