Workhorse electric truck could be the next USPS delivery vehicle


The US Postal Service is in the process of selecting a replacement for its aging fleet of delivery vans. Of the 215,000 mail trucks in operation, 140,000 are at least two decades old. The agency began real-world testing of prototypes at several locations around the country in October.

USPS plans to replace up to 180,000 trucks over the course of 7 years, an estimated $6.3 billion worth of business. It has narrowed its search to five vehicles, and says that the winner of the contract will be announced in early 2018.


The agency has expressed interest in choosing an electrified model, but it’s unclear exactly what types of powertrains are being tested. A partnership between Karsan and Morgan Olson is offering a vehicle with a body from Morgan Olson and hybrid technology from Karsan. Mahindra is presenting a truck that uses a GM gas engine and “may be available with a mild hybrid powertrain option.”

Of the five contenders, only one, a joint project between VT Hackney and Workhorse, seems to feature a plug-in powertrain. This entry is described as an electric vehicle that shares many components with the Workhorse W-15 PHEV pickup truck. Ohio-based Workhorse built the chassis and VT Hackney made the body. A small BMW gasoline engine acts as a range extender.


Image: Paul Sableman (CC BY 2.0)

  • brian_gilbert

    SO the US Post Office runs its vehicles for 20 years. Better make sure the new ones are upgradeable to driverless.

    • Ramon A. Cardona

      Why driverless? Who delivers the mail? For sure my vote is for the Workhorse vehicle.

      • brian_gilbert

        BEcause all vehicles will go driverless in a few years because it will save $Trillions. USA probably wont be first because the number of vehicles required drops like a stone but when China goes it will have to follow.

        • WebUserAtLarge

          Still need a real person to get out of the truck and drop that letter or the package in your mailbox/porch etc. Robots that can do that are still a waaaay off. :-)))

          • brian_gilbert

            True but there would be some savings. A post office van delivering to my road had a driver who stayed at the wheel while a second man retrieved parcels from inside the vehicle and hopped out to deliver them. Not appropriate for all areas, I agree..

  • tony cygan

    The people who deliver the mail are like the general population in regards to cars – they want to drive them and forget about them (maintenance, fuel, etc). The drivers of the last batch of electric postal vehicles (2003-2006) would drive them till the batteries went dead and then complain about them. They didn’t bother to make sure they were charged, and if the charger was broken, not tell anyone, that way they might not have to work so hard the next day, because their truck was dead. I suppose though that if all the vehicles were electric it might make a difference, at least to that local post master, since his j.o.b. is now on the line, and it’s not just a test fleet.

  • SeeMoHigher

    The price target is $25-35k per vehicle, with the upper end being a very significant (and negative) attention-getter to the taxpaying public. While a plug-in has great appaeal, there’s no way that >$35k will be an acceptable price, and the Workhorse truck will cost substantially more than that. Won’t happen.