EV Advocates: Electrifying USPS Vehicles Benefits Workers, Communities
The U.S. Postal Service is buying nearly 85,000 new vehicles, and estimates about 40% of them will be electric vehicles.
That includes 50,000 new delivery trucks, about half of which will be electric. Groups that advocate for EV adoption say it's a big step in the right direction, but think the percentage should be even higher.
Bruce Westlake with the East Michigan Electric Auto Association said mail trucks do a lot of starting and stopping and spend a lot of time parked, and points out that EVs are well-equipped for that.
"The maintenance of a Postal Service vehicle probably includes a lot of repair of brakes," said Westlake. "And if you look at the past record for electric vehicles, brakes are the one thing they don't go through very often. because that's recovered through the motor itself, through regenerative braking."
Under the original USPS plan, only 10% of its vehicles were going to be electric, but the numbers increased after facing pressure - including a lawsuit from 16 states, the District of Columbia, and national environmental groups.
The USPS Office of the Inspector General has found only about 1.5% of postal routes would be poorly suited to EV deployment because they're longer than 70 miles.
Westlake added that during hot summers, electric delivery trucks should make a big difference for mail carriers, in addition to the community.
"If we look at the postal workers themselves, about half of their time is parked," said Westlake. "They would benefit from having essentially a portable air conditioner to make sure that they're in good working conditions."
The new trucks will be put into use in late 2023. And the Postal Service is extending the public comment period on them until August 15.
Groups hope this purchase will contribute to the Biden administration's goal of electrifying the entire government fleet by 2035.