New Mail Trucks May Be Halted as Workhorse Sues USPS
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You might have to wait a little longer to see new U.S. Postal Service (USPS) mail trucks on the road if a lawsuit filed by Workhorse is successful. The technology company believes that the mail truck deal has been awarded unfairly.
The government had just announced earlier this year that its search for a contractor to produce its new commercial trucks was over. However, Workhorse’s lawsuit could halt USPS and Oshkosh’s plans to build new postal trucks, as reported by Car and Driver.
A long search for new U.S. mail delivery trucks
For seven years the federal government's postal agency, the U.S. Postal Service, has been considering its options for a new fleet of mail trucks. This February, the postal agency announced that it had entered into a 10-year deal with Wisconsin-based military contractor, Oshkosh Defense.
The $6 billion deal would see the defense contractor produce up to 165,000 new mail trucks. It also stipulates that the USPS should make an initial $482 million investment to allow Oshkosh to finish designing the new trucks. Some of the proposed vehicles will have low-emission internal combustion engines while others will use battery-electric power.
Many people were excited about the quirky new van that would replace the Grumman "Long Life Vehicles," as reported by Car and Driver. But Workhorse was not happy with the terms of the deal.
Workhorse sued USPS over the mail truck deal
Workhorse, one of the bidding companies (Karshan was the other one), has sued the USPS over the contract's terms. The company, formerly known as Amp Electric Vehicles, does not believe that the government seriously considered its EVs.
In a public media statement from Workhorse, the company stated that its representatives had already met with the USPS. However, it did not disclose any further details regarding the specifics of the lawsuit.
USPS isn’t fully committing to electric vehicles
Some sources from Workhorse believe that USPS rejected their bid because it leans heavily on electric vehicles (EVs), according to the Washington Post.
After the Oshkosh announcement, USPS postmaster general Louis DeJoy said that only about 10% of the planned new fleet of mail trucks will be electrified.
Workhorse has requested that the court issue a preliminary injunction and prevent the USPS from acquiring Oshkosh's trucks until after a review of the agency's decision. Workhorse claims that the federal agency didn’t seriously consider fully electric options, like the Workhorse prototype, before awarding the contract.
Claims of political interference
The deal has flared up political tensions in the country. CNBC reported that House Democrats recently called on the Biden administration to pause the multibillion-dollar contract until a probe can prove that it was awarded without "inappropriate political influence."
This was after Workhouse's shares dropped by close to 50% when USPS announced its decision. Lawmakers will be investigating claims of "suspicious" stock trades conducted hours before the federal agency announced its approval of Oshkosh's bid.
EVs are catching on in the U.S., especially after the Biden administration announced its plans to support the shift to electric. Biden recently announced an Executive Order to electrify the federal fleet. Workhorse and other officials will look into whether this aligns with USPS's decision to accept a bid where only 10% of the vehicles will be EVs.
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