After a rigorous evaluation process, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) says it has awarded contracts to six prime suppliers that will produce 50 prototype vehicles as part of the next phase of the Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDVs) acquisition process.
According to the USPS, half of the prototypes will feature hybrid and new technologies, including alternative fuel capabilities. The prototypes will represent a variety of vehicle sizes and drive configurations, in addition to advanced powertrains and a range of hybrid technologies.
As reported, the six selected suppliers include AM General, Karsan, Mahindra, Oshkosh, Utilimaster and VT Hackney.
This announcement is significant in that the USPS is expected to purchase hundreds of thousands of NGDVs, with the contract awards valued at $37.4 million.
The USPS publicly began the NGDV acquisition program in January 2015 with a request for information (RFI) and kick-off meeting open to all interested technology and automotive suppliers to respond and participate.
Following a review of the responses to the RFI, 15 suppliers were determined to be prequalified to submit proposals to develop NGDV prototypes. As part of the process, the potential suppliers were given access to our processing and delivery environment and employees and were then asked to submit proposals that represented their design conclusions concerning the delivery vehicles that would best meet the USPS’ organizational needs. Potential suppliers were allowed to submit multiple proposals for consideration.
The suppliers also have the discretion to team or subcontract with additional suppliers, and it is anticipated some will do so to develop the finished prototypes.
The suppliers will have approximately one year from contract award to develop and produce their prototypes. The USPS then plans to test the vehicles during a period of approximately six months in a range of different climates, topography, population centers and delivery environments. The tests will help demonstrate the ability of the proposed designs to meet operational needs, including the need to deliver to mailboxes across the U.S.
With the prototype selection, the USPS is also announcing a forthcoming request for proposals (RFP) for commercial off-the-shelf, right-hand-drive delivery vehicles. The USPS seeks to explore a wide variety of available options during this research phase and will evaluate any commercial off-the-shelf vehicles proposed as a result of this RFP.
“Our goal is to obtain vehicles that will help us provide reliable and efficient delivery service for customers and honor our commitment to reducing the environmental impact of our fleet while meeting the needs of our employees to best do their jobs safely,” the USPS said in its statement.