Bid for the best postal van
Contract for next-gen mail truck could be one of the most lucrative of its kind in recent times
THE U.S. Postal Service is seeking bids for a new vehicle that will be better suited to the job and return better fuel economy.
The contract for the next-generation mail truck could be one of the most lucrative of its kind in recent memory, according to industry trade journal Automotive News (subscription required).
Specifications released to bidders on January 20 call for 180 000 new vehicles at $25 000 (R290 000) to $35 000 (R407 000) apiece — valuing the contract at $4,5 billion to $6,3 billion.
Officials are also reportedly looking for more convenience features — like backup cameras — and greater cargo capacity to handle the increasing amount of packages generated by online shopping.
Like all previous postal vehicles, the new van will also have to be right-hand drive, so mail carriers can easily place items in mailboxes.
A group of bidders will be picked this summer to build prototypes, which will undergo testing in 2016.
The final contract will be awarded in 2017, with the first deliveries expected in 2018.
Models like the Ford Transit Connect, Nissan NV200, and Ram ProMaster City seem better suited to delivery duty than full-size, truck-based vans.
Nissan told Automotive News it won’t bid on the contract, but other companies haven’t made statements on the matter.
Green Car reports the current Long Life Vehicle was built by aircraft manufacturer Grumman, now part of Northrup Grumman.
With its boxy aluminium body and General Motors-derived chassis and four-cylinder engine, the little truck doesn’t cut quite as heroic a profile as the fighter planes Grumman built before this brief foray into cars.
It also has a few design flaws that have become apparent over the years. Exhaust systems are easily scraped on curbs, and mail falls into crevices in the cabin. In real-world use, the vehicles often struggle to return their rated 14,7 km/100 km. The current fleet consumes as much as 583 million litres of gasoline annually. — Witness Reporter.
U.S. Postal Service is on the hunt for the postal van of the future.