Electric vehicle startup Workhorse, the only company among three finalists to submit an all-electric mail delivery proposal, has filed an official protest after losing the bid to make the U.S. Postal Service’s next-generation vehicle.
The USPS instead gave the contract in February to defense contractor Oshkosh. It said its new postal truck is designed to run on gas and electric drivetrains. The contract could be worth $6 billion.
The Ohio-based company filed a sealed bid protest in the US Court of Federal Claims. The result of the high-profile court fight could have an impact on how and when those vehicles switch over to electric power.
President Joe Biden said he wants electric vehicles throughout the federal fleet.
Mail delivery future unknown?
“While we do not comment on active litigation, the United States Postal Service is looking forward to the start of vehicle production for our Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV),” Kim Frum, senior public relations representative for the USPS said in an email to The Verge. “Preproduction design, tooling, and facility preparation activities are proceeding on schedule with the first NGDVs estimated to appear on carrier routes in 2023.”
Oshkosh agreed to build between 50,000 to 165,000 new postal trucks throughout the next 10 years. The USPS says it needs billions of dollars more in funding from Congress to tip the balance of the fleet more toward electric vehicles
According to TheVerge.com, Workhorse told the court that the document “contains confidential and proprietary source selection and proposal information” about its bid.
Oshkosh said it is still finalizing the design of the new vehicle and expects a 2023 release. The USPS agreed to invest $482 million upfront to help ready the new vehicle.
The USPS began to discuss replacing the current mail truck in 2015 with a now long-defunct three-year plan.