Ford Will Make Engines and Transmissions for New USPS Trucks
The Blue Oval will supply components to Oshkosh Defense for the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle.
The United States Postal Service is a proud organization, instantly recognizable by its uniform and its famous white Grumman LLV delivery vehicles. The times, they are a changing, however, as Oshkosh Defense won a contract earlier this year to supply 165,000 new postal vehicles to modernize the USPS fleet. As a part of that effort, Reuters reports that Ford will supply engines and other components for the upcoming Next Generation Delivery Vehicle, or NGDV.
The plan going forward is that the USPS will purchase both gasoline-powered and electric versions of the Oshkosh NGDV to replenish their aging fleet. The contract, potentially worth more than $6 billion, allows for the purchase of up to 165,000 vehicles over the next decade. While an early prototype from Oshkosh Defense was based on the existing Ford Transit van, the final vehicle that won the bid is a purpose-built, ground-up design.
Ford's role will be to supply engines, transmissions, and other components for the production of the new delivery vehicles. Speaking on the arrangement to the Detroit Free Press, Ford's product communications manager Mike Levine stated "The U.S. Postal Service and Oshkosh will use Michigan-made engines and transmissions from Ford Component Sales to help deliver the mail." Ford will also supply parts for the electric version of the vehicle. "Ford is providing components across both ICE (internal combustion engine) and BEV (battery-electric vehicle) models including powertrain, drive train, suspension and cabin interior components," said Alexandra Hittle, the director of global marketing and communications at Oshkosh Defense.
The financials of the deal are not yet clear, nor are the precise details as to the components that will be supplied. Expect to see gas-powered NGDVs getting around with fuel-efficient internal combustion drivetrains, though. Ford's flat-plane crank V8 might sound great, but it's probably not what you want in a vehicle delivering the mail first thing in the morning. A clean, fuel-sipping four cylinder is perhaps more likely. Common Ford switchgear should pop up in the interior as well, given the statement from Oshkosh Defense.
The new vehicles will be a major step forward for the USPS. The NGDV sports features missing from earlier fleet vehicles, like air conditioning, heating, and airbags, as well as more modern conveniences like 360 degree cameras and better lighting. These will all help make the job of postal workers safer and more comfortable as they go about the business of delivering the mail.
With the average age of the existing Grumman LLV vehicles nearing 30 years old, and maintenance costs per vehicle coming in at $5000 a year, it's clear that the new vehicles are needed sooner rather than later. Expect the Oshkosh NGDV to become a familiar sight soon after the first examples are delivered in late 2023.
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