After more than three decades in service, the current crop of United States Postal Service mail trucks are finally slated to be replaced. Last week, the USPS awarded Oshkosh Defense an initial $482 million contract to build between 50,000 and 165,000 vehicles right here in the United States. And while we’re sure this decision has upset other competitors like Workhorse and Ford, the latter might not be entirely left out of the fun. According to a report from the Detroit Free Press, it appears that Ford might be getting a piece of this lucrative government contract after all.
According to the publication, Ford might play a role in providing engines for the Oshkosh Defense NGDV (Next Generation Delivery Vehicles). This comes after rumors swirled that Ford would provide the defense contractor with Transit vans for USPS outfitting, though it appears that is no longer the case. The paper received the following statement from Oshkosh Defense about the next-gen mail trucks and Ford’s potential involvement:
“We have teamed up with industry leaders whose proven sub-systems and components speak to the quality of the Oshkosh Defense NGDV (Next Generation Delivery Vehicles) offering,” said Tom Quigley, vice president and general manager, government programs. “We will share more information about the supply base in the future.”
When further pressed as to whether or not Ford-sourced engines were part of these sub-systems, the executive refused to comment for the time being. The Ford Motor Company also denied the paper’s request for comment.
Despite President Biden’s desire to transition the entire federal fleet to electric powered vehicles, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy informed Congress after the USPS decision that only 10 percent of the Oshkosh Defense NGDV lineup is slated to be electric. And while Oshkosh has already said that the gasoline-powered vehicles will be able to be easily converted to electric powertrains after the fact, this goes against the recent executive order. The USPS makes up about a third of the current federal fleet.
Should these vehicles utilize Ford engines, it is also possible that the automaker could supply electric powertrains down the line. Ford’s recent investment into models like the Mustang Mach-E and Electric F-150 shows that they have the capability to manufacture these systems. As the automaker prepares to go fully electric in Europe by the end of the decade, this capability will only grow.
When you consider that the total estimated value of this United States Postal Service contract is around $6 billion dollars, we’re sure Ford is more than happy to get involved. For now however, it appears that nobody wants to be transparent about the decision. Such is life when dealing with defense contractors, I suppose.