Helping to electrify the U.S. Postal Service fleet
The USPS employs 217,000 delivery vehicles to deliver mail and parcels to more than 135 million addresses. Many of these vehicles are beyond their intended service life and expensive to operate and maintain.
The USPS Office of Inspector General (OIG) sought to identify opportunities and challenges for the Postal Service in adopting electric delivery vehicles. Questions included: How suitable are electric vehicles as postal delivery vehicles? And what are the potential long-term cost savings of a new electric delivery vehicle compared to a new gas-powered vehicle?
Leveraging our technology, modeling, and subject matter expertise, we developed a cost calculator to determine the total cost of ownership for EVs compared to gas-powered vehicles in the USPS fleet. We calculated costs over 20 years based on inputs including the upfront cost of purchasing a new vehicle, the cost of fuel (gasoline or electricity), maintenance costs, charger installation costs, and miles driven per day.
We also provided USPS OIG with best practices from some of the largest delivery companies in the U.S. that are electrifying their fleets, as well as research and advice on other issues that are crucial to successful fleet electrification.
The cost of ownership model and research notes we delivered to USPS OIG helped confirm that EV technology is capable of meeting the Postal Service’s needs. The biggest contributors to the cost of delivery vehicles are the vehicles themselves, chargers, and fuel as well as the expected use (route length, conditions, and vehicle use patterns). Taking this all into consideration, our cost calculator indicated that EVs would present a lower total cost of ownership for a significant share of the USPS fleet.
We helped USPS OIG identify several clear benefits of adopting electric vehicles into the postal delivery fleet, including improved sustainability and environmental impacts. EVs are generally more mechanically reliable than gas-powered vehicles and would require less maintenance. Energy costs will be lower for EVs, as using electricity to power an electric vehicle is cheaper than using gasoline.
In December 2022, USPS announced plans to acquire at least 66,000 battery electric delivery vehicles by 2028. This commitment was enabled by the Postal Service’s overall network modernization efforts, which allows for a more rapid deployment of EVs, and the $3 billion in congressional funding appropriated under the Inflation Reduction Act.
“A key focus of our modernization effort is to reduce inefficient transportation and improve distribution operations, resulting in … far fewer truck trips. When combined with our substantial commitment to the electrification of our delivery vehicles, the Postal Service will be at the forefront of our nation’s green initiatives.”