“We don’t currently have the additional three or four billion dollars in our plan that are required for this,” said DeJoy, an appointee for former President Donald J. Trump, whose decisions – especially about mail processing during the 2020 election – have him to made a political lightning rod. “But we look forward to speaking to the administration and to this congress.”
Various studies have shown that falling battery prices and lower maintenance costs have made electric vehicles increasingly competitive with conventional ones. And there is a precedent for a swift move to electric vans. Amazon ordered 100,000 custom electric delivery vehicles last year from Rivian, another upstart.
Don Hillebrand, director of the Argonne National Laboratory’s energy systems division, said Oshkosh’s experience with large defense contracts for sturdy, durable vehicles was likely a factor in the postal service’s decision. Oshkosh is also a leader in autonomous driving technology, which could play a growing role in mail deliveries, he said.
“In the last cycle, they drove a vehicle that would span 30 years,” said Hillebrand. “Looking to the next level, they want the same stability, ability and flexibility.”
Still, the decision was largely made by environmental groups and other proponents of electric vehicles.
“You started a process six years ago, but delayed, delayed, delayed. And when they got to the end of the street, instead of saying, “We need to reconsider,” they made a decision that locked us in with internal combustion engines, said Robbie Diamond, president of Securing America’s Future Energy, a group that advocates America’s energy independence .
Mr Diamond added that it was a missed opportunity for the United States to catch up with China, which has made a leap forward in electrifying buses and other vehicle fleets. China has also dominated the global supply chains for critical components needed to manufacture electric vehicles.