The U.S. Postal Service has been hit with a wave of criticism after it announced a multi-million-dollar hybrid upgrade on its trucks despite delays in delivery times and loss in revenue.
The agency revealed on Tuesday that it has awarded a $482 million contract to Oshkosh Defense to finalize production for the next-generation postal vehicles, with the first new trucks expected to hit the roads in 2023.
The contract, which could be worth more than $6 billion in total, allows for delivery of between 50,000 and 165,000 of the vehicles over 10 years, which will be a mix of internal combustion-powered and battery-electric vehicles.
The deal was developed with the aim of reducing its costs and to transition away from greenhouse gas-emitting technologies to cleaner solutions.
However, customers were angered by the money being spent on the upgrade instead of ensuring that mail is delivered on time.
The upgrade comes as U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy told lawmakers on Wednesday that U.S. mail system is losing $10 billion a year and urgently needs reform and legislative relief from Congress.
The U.S. Postal Service has been hit with a wave of criticism after it announced a multi-million-dollar hybrid upgrade on its trucks despite delays in delivery times and loss in revenue. Pictured, the nee hybrid truck which will have more room for packages
Social media users hit out at the money being spent on the upgrade, pictured
‘Ppl just want their mail on time. USPS, y’all really think ppl care what you deliver the mail in?’ Twitter user Shannon Sharpe asked when the new truck design was announced.
Another user named Caleb Hull added: ‘Everyone: stop losing our packages and costing us billions every year. Usps: introducing our new clown car’.
‘They just need to start focusing on delivering s**t ON TIME lol I swear my packages are always late,’ hit out @IsaacIniguez.
Others questioned where the USPS received the money for the upgrade asking, ‘I thought y’all were broke?’ and ‘isn’t the USPS in massive debt … always having the get bailed out?’
‘Meanwhile I’ve been waiting on a key for our mailbox for two months now,’ joked another Twitter user.
‘USPS NEEDS TO UNVEIL MY MAIL,’ wrote @SoloLeveling.
User Ben Cornelius said he didn’t care if the new trucks were ‘ugly or sleek’.
‘I just expect 1st class mail from my doctor’s office 5 blocks away in less than 7 and 8 days, from Atlanta in less than 10 days, and 2-day Priority Mail from Peekskill in less than 5 days,’ he wrote.
‘It doesn’t need to be sleek and cool,’ another user agreed of the design.
‘It needs to be able to carry a lot of mail, be fuel efficient, and have a low grille with good visibility so letter carriers won’t be at risk of running over children. Check, check, check.’
Customers were angered that USPS is spending millions on the new trucks
Oshkosh Defense, a division of Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Corp., will assemble 50,000 to 165,000 of the new Next Generation Delivery Vehicles at its existing U.S. manufacturing facilities, USPS said Tuesday.
It described the deal as the first part of a multibillion-dollar 10-year effort to replace its delivery vehicle fleet, part of an effort to make the USPS more environmentally friendly by switching a portion of its huge fleet to electric vehicles.
The vehicles will be a combination of electric and gasoline powered, but the gasoline-powered new vehicles will have the ability to be retrofitted with new electric systems in the future.
USPS also revealed a look at the new trucks which will have more room for packages and will be updated with modern safety and drivability standards like cameras, airbags, and collision avoidance systems.
They also include a waste-high front hood that resembles the front beak of a duck in front of an extra-high windshield.
It marks the first change for the iconic Grumman LLV mail truck that has been in use since the late 1980s.
Yet customers were also less than impressed by the new design.
‘Who made this vehicle? Pixar?’ asked user Tyler David
‘I drew cars like this when I was 9,’ joked Casey Evan.
Social media users also joked about the design of the new hybrid trucks
Another user Kyle Swawayama compared it to an episode of The Simpsons as he wrote: ‘idk sorta reminds me of the car build for homer’.
‘USPS took all the money they used to spend on sorting machines and put it into reducing air resistance, so your mail will be two weeks late but one minute early,’ added @Jrehling of the new design.
The postal service last updated its mail-delivery trucks 30 years ago, and there have been major changes in the service’s operations since then.
Traditional mail volumes have declined, while the service now delivers millions of packages from online retailers like Amazon that did not exist when the previous mail vehicle was introduced.
The upgrade comes as DeJoy admitted the mail system is losing $10 billion a year.
‘I would suggest that we are on a death spiral,’ DeJoy told the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform committee at a hearing Wednesday, who did not rule out changing first-class deliver standards or other significant changes.
U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, left, unveils the new hybrid trucks on Tuesday
DeJoy, a supporter of former President Donald Trump appointed to head the Postal Service last year, suspended operational changes in August after heavy criticism over postal delays.
He plans to release a new 10-year strategic ‘break-even’ plan soon.
Delays in paychecks and other mail deliveries by the Postal Service, or USPS, gained attention this summer as a record number of voters mailed in ballots to elect a new president.
Last month, President Joe Biden vowed to replace the U.S. government’s fleet of roughly 650,000 vehicles with electric models.
And on Wednesday, DeJoy told lawmakers on Wednesday the Postal Service was committed to having electric vehicles make up 10 percent of its next-generation fleet.
Some environmental advocates criticized the USPS decision not to buy an all-EV fleet after tge announcement Tuesday.
Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union, had urged Congress to give the USPS a ‘modernization grant’ of $25 billion to make ‘long-overdue’ investments in a clean postal fleet, electric-vehicle charging stations for local post offices and other improvements.
Yet the choice of Wisconsin-based Oshkosh is a big miss for Ohio-based electric vehicle startup Workhorse Group, which put in an all-electric bid for the vehicles.
DeJoy said the USPS had agreed to spend $500 million on the next-generation vehicles to make them convertible to EVs from internal-combustion models at a future date. ‘Every vehicle could be converted to electric,’ DeJoy said.
Shares of Workhorse fell more than 47 percent Tuesday after the USPS award to Oshkosh Corp, which was up 4.4 percent.
Workhorse said on Wednesday it had it had requested more information on the decision.