More than a dozen companies, including many automakers, are interested in building the successor for what the Postal Service uses to transport letters to your mailbox.
According to The Wall Street Journal, 15 firms have made it to the first round of the U.S. Postal Service’s bidding process to win a contract worth as much as $5 billion and the purchase of 180,000 vehicles to replace the outdated Grumman LLVs that are rooted in 30-year-old General Motors truck technology.
In January, WSJ reported GM and Fiat-Chrysler were interested in winning the contract. Now, they say Nissan, Daimler and Mahindra are also in line, as well as defense contractors AM General and Oshkosh Corp. Electric vehicle startups are also on the list, as well as a company that makes vehicles with drones that can carry parcels.
The cash-strapped Postal Service is reportedly looking at vehicles that get vastly improved fuel economy to the Grummans, which reportedly see MPG figures in the low teens. Lower repair bills and higher mileage is supposed to help the USPS trim its operating costs. A new vehicle also has to be better able to deal with the fact most customers are ordering lots of packages from online retailers these days, rather than receiving the letters and envelopes the current trucks were designed for.
While a startup winning the bid would be interesting, it’s much more likely an established company will win the bid. Consider that FCA, Nissan and Daimler are all pushing new commercial van designs in this country now and it’s easy to picture what a new postal vehicle could look like.
I’m still rooting for a USPS Jeep Wrangler, though.
*Note: 2013 Jeep Wranlger Unlimited Moab pictured below