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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

USPS greenlights Oshkosh Defense for next-gen mail truck | Hagerty Media

This is it, folks-nine years after the lovable LLV's original expiration date, and six years after the United States Postal Service started seriously looking for a replacement, the USPS has finally selected a manufacturer for the next-gen mail truck.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/news/usps-greenlights-oshkosh-defense-for-next-gen-mail-truck/
48 REPLIES 48
Dantheman
Pit Crew

With the sliding door so far back It doesn't look like it carries much more. A hybrid Lazy Susan would eliminate the need for an aisle in the back and thus allow for more cargo.
I would like to see this with a plan for a backfit kit for electric drive. I don't know enough about the Lordstown setup to know if wheel motors lend themselves to it. They said an electric backfit is under consideration.
The other thing that would have been good would be to avoid sole source and pick 4 vendors and make the purchase a competition using a blend of vehicles. This would be consistent with large government procurements like SpaceX and Boeing. Then if one has problems the winner survives.
spoom
Technician

Since it's based on the Ford Transit and not the smaller Transit Connect, the new vehicle is huge compared to the little ones we are used to seeing based on the AM General design.
Studenorton
Advanced Driver

The ones you are used to seeing in the last long generation were Grumman, based on a Chevrolet S-10 frame. They were designed for at least three modes of convertibility, and easily outlasted the predicted lifespan. They gave up on them only because GM was no longer able to produce the small truck frame.
spoom
Technician

I talked to some people and there will be an EV model, the product mix hasn't been determined. Heck, we still have to have the State vs State bidding freebie/tax incentive war to see where they'll be built. Gentlemen, start your wallets!

DougL
Intermediate Driver

Am I the only one that thinks that huge windshield is a bad idea? It has to be a very expensive piece of glass, and just the size of it makes it quite the target for road debris. It will put a huge sun load on the interior, and will require powerful air conditioning to keep it comfortable on sunny days. It does not seem to serve any purpose other than a styling gimmick.
spoom
Technician

It does seem strange, and not in a good way. 😉

TeutonicScot
Intermediate Driver

Looks like an aquarium..... I feel like I'm looking into an exhibit at SeaWorld.
It's reminiscent of the Pacer. Can't imagine that would be comfortable for the driver.
red-on-red
Intermediate Driver

I see what looks like a very tall drivers seat-back. Maybe it can be driven seated or standing. Then the tall windshield would come in handy.
Studenorton
Advanced Driver

Years ago, several postal-only square vans were laid out for stand-up driving. For a certain type of delivery criticized below (known to carriers as "jump and dump") they had big advantages, but it was easy to inadvertently leave them in gear (!) and a temptation to run with the sliding door open, a huge safety no-no. I can't believe that the driving position as then envisioned could possibly pass any crash test today.
spoom
Technician

Possibly, but they still make and use garbage trucks like that nationwide. The brake is a deadman's pedal, where you brake by raising your left foot. Brake stays on when you leave the truck. I drove an electric Yale forklift like that in the late 70's.

JoeSyzygy
New Driver

Yes. A windshield that size is difficult to make, and could be a source of many quality issues, not to mention expensive. I've read that it is for visibility close to the vehicle. As you said, it will put a large heat load on the interior, and because of this, it should be made with advanced solar control materials to reduce the heat to the interior. That makes it even more expensive. This is another case of government over-specification. Does anyone know who made the prototype windshields? Or who won the contract for this glass?
CJinSD
Advanced Driver

The LLVs lasted so long because they cover an average of 18 miles a day; 5,388 miles a year. They average $3,000 in maintenance and repairs a year, or about 56 cents a mile. Gas is about another $1,500 a year. The USPS uses the rather absurd 84 cents a mile in operating costs as a justification to replace these turkeys with newer, much more absurd turkeys, but the fact is we own them and $4,500 a year in total costs is free compared to the costs associated with each new specialized government vehicle. This new program will make operating the LLVs look cheap. I'm pretty sure we'd be better off if the USPS leased Japanese-spec RHD small vans from Enterprise.
PRScott
Detailer

Yes, but did you really expect common sense to enter the equation. This is the USPS after all and it's your money not theirs that's being spent
Studenorton
Advanced Driver

Common sense? I've got your common sense right here:
https://www.cooperclassiccars.com/imagetag/3434/main/l/Used-1964-Westcoaster-Mailster.jpg

And I would bet money that Hagerty has written a policy on one.
Papa-tony
Intermediate Driver

AMEN... and a good chuckle. Capacity would definitely suffer though...
GRP_Photo
Instructor

The last LLV was delivered 27 years ago. Most are older. That means the newest ones have at least 140,000 miles on them and the oldest have around 180,000 (using the 5,388 miles per year above). High time for replacement.
As for the idea of using Japanese vans, I don't think Japanese steel is up to the job of being on the road in all kinds of weather in the northern States, though I must say that Toyota has improved a lot since the rust-buckets of the 80s.
CJinSD
Advanced Driver

The vehicles used to deliver mail in rural areas with brutal winters are already usually Japanese in Canada, and I've seen Subarus used for that function in the US too.  I've been having appliances delivered to my home recently, and I noticed that both Home Depot and Costco used Enterprise trucks or contractors with Enterprise trucks for the purpose. Why shouldn't Jeff Bezos do the same when it is on our nickel? The beauty of leasing is that it doesn't really matter if they rust after five years. We wouldn't own them, and I'm sure most of them would be put on the emptied ships that the Chinese used to export our manufacturing jobs and sent off to developing markets when they're returned.  

SL65
Intermediate Driver

Either that, or they could look at how everyone else is delivering packages -- step vans, Sprinters, Transits, and Uber cars, but no aquariums.
llawrence9
Intermediate Driver

Looks like a Freightliner (owned by Mercedes) front end.
terryjudd
Intermediate Driver

One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard about the Grumman LLVs came from letter carriers who had to drive these trucks through the snow. Because the LLV front track width is narrower than the rear track width, front tires do not make tracks wide enough in freshly fallen snow to assist rear wheel traction. The Oshkosh Defense NGDVs appear to have addressed that long-standing issue by having similar front and rear track widths.
bblhed
Advanced Driver

Years ago when I was rallying EV's and Hybrids (all home built) I remember talking to James Warden the owner of Selectria about how he was trying to get the contract to build EV's for the Post office. He mentioned that the reason the USPS wanted to look at EV's over IC was that they drove less than 20 miles a day and the number one breakdown on Mail Trucks was the starter. Lets see how these do.
Studenorton
Advanced Driver

The Post Office Department had an all-electric fleet, and scrapped it in favor of the lower operating and repair costs of the internal combustion engine offered by Ford. In 1915.
DeanH
Intermediate Driver

This is a perfect example of what happens when a windshield lobbyist '''buys'' influence within the design office hierarchy (apparently with booze and hookers...)
BossGreg
Intermediate Driver

I prefer the currently noisy ones so I can beat the thieves to my mail. I work at home and I can save them work and time by meeting them for my packages. I hear the truck better than my door bell.
TRAGAR
Pit Crew

How could this possibly be a $600 billion program? If we round up to 200,000 vehicles purchased over 10 years, that is $3 million per NGDV. Either the vehicle count or total contract size must be way off. Even with the government spending our dollars, how could it possibly cost $3 million per copy?
Studenorton
Advanced Driver

Price per unit?

"Forever."
toy83h2ssj53
Intermediate Driver

A couple of things bother me about this raid on the taxpayer wallets. The "carriers" here in Phoenix sometimes walk, and many times drive from house to house, shutting off the vehicle, walking to the mailbox / mailboxes (condo complexes), then get back in, start up and go to the next house. A/C is fine if a person is in a closed car that is kept closed, but the constant in and out precludes any efficient air conditioning, and adds to the cost of operation. Also, with the USPS "failing" with internal problems, and concerns about mail delivery, has there been any indication that there will be an increase in package shipping that would warrant such a large vehicle. For my $$, I patronize UPS or DHL, because I can be assured that my package will make it to its destination and not disappear enroute. As long as the USPS is a governmental "company" I see no change in the internal management or the improvement in service, just a continuing raid on the taxpayer wallet.
Eric
Hagerty Employee

Where funding will ultimately come from for the NGDV is an open question, but for what it's worth, the Postal Service is not taxpayer funded. It operates exclusively from revenue and service fees: https://facts.usps.com/top-facts/

Fair to point out that USPS has had to borrow a lot of money (10bn) from the treasury dept. during the pandemic, and for a variety of reasons it loses way more money every year than it can make up.
Orict0015668
Pit Crew

Maestro1
Instructor

I always try to stay away from politics, especially here, because that is not Hagerty's purpose but I must say now I think deJoy is an idiot, as is anybody with a ten year plan for a business under current conditions. The truck: The windshield is too big, the truck should be three quarters the size of the picture, as little technology as possible and when are we going to stop wasting the taxpayers money? Yes, USPS needs new trucks absolutely and this isn't it.
Studenorton
Advanced Driver

That's very diplomatically said but you know, "DeJoy is an idiot" is not even a political statement. There is a political (history) note to be made about this: since the days of the steamboat (and the R.P.O., stage lines, RFD, Parcel Post, Air Mail, Express Mail) the post office has been used, hard, by Congress as a tech demonstrator and a loss leader. There were *eloquent* speeches given against a government-owned air fleet, and so on with every so-called boondoggle since. Some of them turned out to be spectacularly successful, quite a few were successful for the competition that developed, and some (ECOM) either died a-borning or had to be strangled. Multi-modular power sources have been a pet plum for over 30 years now, and those decisions aren't made locally or regionally. They're made up on that Hill, over there.
Studenorton
Advanced Driver

I will happily deck the next man who says that the Studebaker Zip-Van was funny looking.
spoom
Technician

I had a short tail Commando in the '70s and still have a Studebaker, so I get to use the N, um I-word if I want to, correct? 😉

Sajeev
Community Manager

Incorrect, because I have to moderate this forum. 

Pdxcarguy
Intermediate Driver

I'd like to know acouple of things...

- Where does all the "clean energy" come from to recharge the batteries in all these new EV's coming to market???

- Who's going to pay to upgrade the entire energy system / grid to handle the load of every household / business plugging in their EV???

Just wondering / curous...
SL65
Intermediate Driver

I can help you with that. Burning fossil fuels in a car has a thermal efficiency of about 30%, so 70% of the chemical energy in the fuel is wasted as heat. Burning the same fuel in a power plant has over three times the thermal efficiency, because the waste heat is re-used.

Electricity produced with windmills or dams uses even less fossil fuels, and the lowest use of fossil fuels is nuclear.

The emissions are not the main reason to reduce our reliance on internal combustion engines. We make fertilizers, asphalt, plastics, medicines, paint, industrial chemicals, and an endless array of other products from oil. Almost three quarters of the oil we consume goes to fuel transportation. Using alternative energy for transportation will make this scarce resource last much longer.

mhealy1
Detailer

You skipped accounting for transmission losses (of electricity) in your equation, as many electric proponents do.
What percentage of our electricity is solar and wind? You also avoid the environmental impact of the acquisition of the materials needed for the production of solar panels.
Nuclear? Agreed, but new plants in the US are not likely. Dams for hydro ditto.
An earlier post questioned the ability of the grid to support an electric-vehicle future. Perhaps in time but given the obstacles to overcome, I have my doubts I’ll see it in the next 40 years.
By the way-an affordable electric is perfect for my commute and a distinct possibility in the not distant future, so I’m not a hater, just (I think) a realist.
SL65
Intermediate Driver

The electric transmission loss is 8.7% per 1000 miles, so in reality it is a trivial amount compared to the 70% of the energy that gets wasted as heat in an internal combustion engine -- Our powerplants are spaced much less than 2000 miles apart, and the line losses are thus much less than this figure. For each one percent lost in transmission, one additional windmill per hundred would have to be built, or each windmill would have to be very slightly larger and produce 1% more.

 

Wind power has increased from 4 billion kilowatt hours in 2000 to 300 billion kilowatt hours in 2020 -- an increase of 7500%. It is now at about 8% of the mix, or the equivalent of 4 average US states. By midcentury the output will be many times larger. Solar power is currently less than 2%, but this is mostly due to the improvements in solar efficiency being very recent. Dams are less likely to be built -- some are in fact being removed, and nuclear may struggle to gain traction in this country, though it is expanding rapidly in China and to a lesser degree in Europe, and we all share the same atmosphere, and the same finite oil reserves.

 

The environmental impact of materials for windmills needs to be spread over the lifecycle of the windmills -- 200 years? Each of those windmills you see spinning away is roughly the same as a 4000 hp generator, so any discussion of the fossil fuels that go into making one needs to keep in mind how much electricity it will produce and for how long. Wave and tidal generation might also eventually become realistic, though they seem to be getting off to a slow start.

 

In my view the biggest worry is running out of oil, and not global warming. Look around you and count all the different products that contain petrochemicals. What do you want to make them out of when the oil is gone? And what do you want to fuel airliners with when the oil is gone? It just seems like such a waste to pour millions of barrels of this critical feedstock into gas tanks each day -- our civilization is very dependent on petroleum and we need to respect the fact that it is a nonrenewable resource.

 

Sheikh Zaki Yamani, the Saudi oil minister who died last week, said "The Stone Age did not end for lack of stone, and the Oil Age will end long before the world runs out of oil". Let's hope he was right -- Running out of oil before we are ready will be a disaster.

Kewina50
Intermediate Driver

I have to chuckle! the new mail truck looks like the vehicles with the exaggerated roof lines in the animated Pixar movies!
jsfury
Intermediate Driver

Absolutely! It was the first thing I thought of. Not to mention, it's just fugly.
OldRoad
Instructor

OH Neeto, a new mail delivery truck and surveillance vehicle all in one. Pretty good for a private government operated company on the edge of bankruptcy.
CT-car-guy
Pit Crew

I did not see any mention of what kind od drive these have. Four wheel, rear 2 wheel, front 2 wheel?
Here in CT USPS has to mount tire chains whenever there is snow. Even when the roads are plowed and salted, the edges of the road can be very slippery. If these new vans are not 4 wheel drive, then all the fancy new gadgets are a waste of money if they need to continue mounting tire chains every time it snows. Four wheel drive should be relatively easy with electric drive.
SL65
Intermediate Driver

What is the point of that huge windshield --
Has everyone else gotten it wrong up to now?

I was expecting to see two flat windshield halves for ease of maintenance, not something off a tour bus. Do the packages have to be able to see the sights over the driver's head?
brb
Advanced Driver

Good application for EV. I have to agree with comments on the windshield, it seems like serious overkill. The general layout appears similar to UPS trucks, which I regard as a good move.
Zephyr
Advanced Driver

I was told by a USPS fleet manager that the most commonly replaced item in their trucks is the seat, due to all the use it gets. If I recall correctly he said each truck goes through two or three seats a year. Putting A/C in the new trucks may be a clue that the post office plans to make a major change in how they deliver - for example, requiring that individual mailboxes be replaced with the gang boxes now required in new subdivisions. At least where I live it's common for some homeowners to have to walk a block or so to get to their mailbox.
JohnnyD
Intermediate Driver

Louis DeJoy needs to go. He set outside over 2000 well-maintained and operational mail sorting machines to rust and sell as scrap... in order to advance the agenda of slowed mail delivery at the request of the former president. It takes 3 weeks to deliver mail up and down the east coast now. DeJoy is unqualified to continue. USPS mail delivery is our constitutional right. The new trucks look great! The old GM chassis just somehow kept running 24+ years.
WOXOF
New Driver

Did I miss something or has the Post Office invented another way to ruin my package before it gets to me? With the back of the vehicle raked forward it looks like rain dripping off of the roof (I didn't see a drip rail) will drip straight down onto the extended floor of the truck when the door is open. Ah, but I guess that leaves the door open (pun intended) for a roof extension retrofit.
ryanwm80
Pit Crew

Hideously ugly.