The US Postal Service is planning to finally replace a 163,000-strong fleet of delivery vehicles that have been in service since before Amazon.com sold its first book.
According to the initial specifications, the USPS contract would comprise 180,000 vehicles at $25,000 to $35,000 each, costing a total of $4.5 billion to $6.3 billion.
The current fleet of Long Life Vehicles comes from the aerospace company Grumman Corp., which was later purchased by Northrop; the trucks have had numerous problems during the last 30 years that include faulty doors, leaking windshields and low fuel economy.
“At some point, the fleet has to be dealt with,” Tom Day, chief sustainability officer at the Postal Service, said at a 2014 hearing of the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission, as quoted by Automotive News. “The wheels are just going to fall off at some point in time. Whether we refurbish it or replace it, something has to be done.”
USPS will meet with potential bidders next week in Washington, planning to select carmakers this summer to build prototypes for testing in 2016. The plan is to award the contract in early 2017.