By Steve Schaefer
I read last week that the US Postal Services had selected a bid to replace their old trucks with new ones that are gasoline-powered. I believe that this is a big mistake. President Biden has stated that he wants to electrify the government fleet, and this is the time to do it with the USPS trucks.
EVs make perfect sense for a stop-and-start daily route vehicle. There’s no reason to replace them with updated versions of 20th-century trucks. While an individual may worry about taking their car, which is usually used locally, on an occasional long trip, this would never be a concern with a vehicle that drives a local route every day. And who wants trucks spewing pollution in our neighborhoods when it’s not necessary?
The current fleet has been around for three decades, so whatever we do now will be with us for a long time, so we need to choose wisely and make the investments we need for the future. If we buy gas trucks now, they would continue as gasoline vehicles for a long time, even when most of the auto and truck fleet has transitioned to EVs.
The announcement about the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) from defense contractor Oshkosh Defense, states that these vehicles could be converted to EVs later. However, that is not practical and would likely never happen. Vehicles that are designed as EVs use a different kind of platform, since they don’t need gas tanks, large engines, radiators, and even transmissions. It makes more sense from a technical and a financial standpoint to build them as EVs in the first place.
Now is also the time to create the infrastructure to support these electric postal vehicles. It can be done as the trucks are phased in, with charging stations in the lot and solar panels on the post office roof to feed them.
What You Can Do
When I heard this news, I immediately wrote to my two senators and my congressman. You can go to their websites and fill out an email template to communicate that you want electric postal trucks. It takes five minutes.
I also looked up the Department of Transportation, where Pete Buttigieg is now the secretary. I didn’t find an easy email address, but you can call them at 202-366-4000 or send them a letter at:
Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of Transportation
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Moveon.org is circulating a petition that you can sign.
The most important thing is to invest in electric postal trucks at the beginning, and we’ll have vehicles that fit in with the electric fleet of the future, will be part of an overall climate strategy, and be much more economical to run for years to come.
I’ll be following this story as it unfolds.