The U.S. Postal Service, alongside White House officials, unveiled its first set of electric vehicle charging stations at its South Atlanta Sorting and Delivery Center (S&DC). Charging stations like these will be installed at hundreds of new S&DCs nationwide throughout 2024 and will power what will be the nation’s largest EV fleet.
Electrification and modernization of the Postal Service’s delivery fleet is part of the organization’s $40 billion investment strategy to upgrade and improve USPS processing, transportation and delivery networks.
“The improvements we need to achieve in sustainability are an integral outgrowth of the broader modernization efforts we have undertaken through our 10-year Delivering for America plan,” says Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. “As we transform our operating processes and invest in new automation, new technologies, and upgraded facilities and vehicles, we will generate significant efficiencies that reduce our costs, slash our carbon footprint and minimize waste. We are grateful for the support of Congress and the Biden administration through Inflation Reduction Act funding, which helped enable the electrification in evidence here today.”
“In every neighborhood in America, people know their postal carrier and recognize the USPS vehicle driving down their street,” says John Podesta, senior advisor to the President for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation. “The work USPS is doing to electrify those vehicles is making EVs commonplace on every road and street in our country, while reducing air pollution and increasing comfort and safety for the dedicated public servants who deliver our mail.”
At the unveiling event, USPS also showcased new battery-powered and domestically manufactured commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) delivery vehicles that will make up a portion of its EV fleet. Deployment of electric delivery trucks will start in Georgia and then expand to other locations nationwide throughout 2024. The vehicles feature air conditioning and advanced safety technology and are designed to meet modern operational requirements.
The procurement of EVs and charging stations is enabled by the Postal Service’s overall network modernization efforts — which allow more rapid EV deployment — as well as its improving financial condition, which includes $3 billion in congressional funding appropriated under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
As part of its 10-year Delivering for America (DFA) plan, the Postal Service expects to convert approximately 400 selected sites into S&DCs nationwide. These centers — which provide faster and more reliable mail and package delivery over a greater geographic area — will serve as the local hubs to deploy EVs along local carrier routes. As of January 2024, the Postal Service has opened 29 S&DCs nationwide.
Charging stations displayed at the Atlanta S&DC unveiling were manufactured by Siemens. These stations can efficiently charge Postal Service EVs overnight before the next day’s deliveries. The Postal Service’s first 14,000 EV chargers will be manufactured by three suppliers: Siemens, Rexel/ChargePoint and Blink.
The event featured battery electric COTS vehicles manufactured by the Ford Motor Company. USPS plans on procuring a total of 21,000 COTS EVs — including 9,250 from Ford — depending on market availability and operational feasibility.
In addition, the Postal Service anticipates adding at least 45,000 battery electric Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDVs) by 2028, bringing the total number of EVs in the delivery fleet to more than 66,000. This represents one of the largest commitments to vehicle electrification in the nation. USPS will also continue to explore achieving 100% electrification for its delivery vehicle fleet.
Updating and modernizing the Postal Service’s fleet will allow delivery vehicles to haul larger volumes of mail and packages. For example, the Ford E-Transits displayed at the unveiling have nearly three times the cargo capacity of the Grumman LLV delivery vehicles the Postal Service currently uses.