Workhorse Sues USPS over $6 Billion Oshkosh Mail Truck Deal

Photo credit: workhorse
If you thought the seven year search for new U.S. Postal Service Postbuses was over, think again.
There were three companies that stood up for the massive contract, and one of them, Workhorse, is now saying a court should consider whether the deal was fair and whether the government was using its all-electric options, including the Workhorse prototype pictured above, has not seriously considered.
The public details remain somewhat vague given the nondisclosure of the job offers and other nondisclosure agreements.
In February, the US Postal Service awarded a contract for up to 165,000 new Postbuses worth up to 6 billion US dollars to the defense company Oshkosh. The search for new delivery vehicles took around seven years, and when the internet found out what the quirky new van would look like, there was a lot of exhilaration. Not everyone was happy, however.

Workhorse, formerly known as Amp Electric Vehicles, was one of two other contractors competing for the USPS contract (the other was Karsan). This week Workhorse sued the Post over the terms of the contract, specifically whether the postman ever seriously viewed Workhorse's electric vehicles as a suitable replacement for the Grumman "Long Life Vehicles" commonly seen today in the delivery of mail.


Workhorse's lawsuit - anyway the version that the public can see - is vague as the company said disclosing all contract information would reveal details about its offering for the contract and the company's electric vehicles that would be helpful to competitors. In addition to the judicial filing, Workhorse released a media statement stating that Workhorse officials met with the USPS in early March to "discuss the award and other details of the USPS selection process," but the details of the meeting are "currently cannot be disclosed ”. . "

Nonetheless, we can get a feel for what this is about from anonymous sources speaking to the Washington Post, and it all seems to be down to the level of electrification that the USPS is actually interested in. The February announcement included language about electric vehicles but also made it clear that gas-powered mail cars would continue to be part of the USPS. Workhorse insiders told the Post that they believe the USPS wasn't seriously considering Workhorse's offer, in part because it relied so heavily on electric vehicles.

Embattled USPS postmaster General Louis DeJoy said after Oshkosh's announcement that only about 10 percent of the trucks the post office will buy will be electrified. Workhorse is seeking an injunction from the court to stop the Oshkosh PostBus procurement process pending review of the decision. It is also alleged that the USPS did not fully evaluate an all-electric prototype of Oshkosh.
"The allegations state that [the postal service] never intended to seriously consider Workhorse and they put their thumbs on the scales to select against Workhorse," a source told the Post. The USPS and Oshkosh are not commenting on the lawsuit, and Workhorse said they “do not currently provide any further information regarding the matter, but will provide updates when appropriate and permitted under its nondisclosure agreement as part of the USPS [Next Generation Delivery Vehicle] -Program."
Oskhosh has said on other occasions that the ability to swap out the gas-powered drivetrain in its new trucks for all-electric versions was a selling point for the USPS, despite telling the SEC last November that it was essentially an electric drivetrain. Amateur Acts: "While we continue to examine options to include more propulsion options in our products, such as electrically powered vehicles or mobile devices with lower emissions, we may have to spend additional resources on product research and development and implementation costs and issues at risk one that our competitors react to this pressure in a way that gives them a competitive advantage, "the company wrote at the time.
Whichever trucks the USPS is buying to replace their current fleet, they're going to be a massive upgrade. The LLVs currently in use were all built between 1987 and 1994 and should be retired after 24 years at the latest. All trucks are older at this point, but postmen may have to drive them a few more miles before new trucks arrive.
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