The United States Postal Service on Tuesday announced that its "Next Generation Delivery Vehicle," or NGDV, is coming. Oshkosh Defense scored the 10-year contract to manufacture the vehicles, which the USPS says will be a multi-billion dollar modernization effort. The Verge notes that's a blow to Workhorse, a commercial electric vehicle startup that had made it to the top three companies bidding on the job. The new design is getting mixed reviews from observers (more pictures here). Vice calls it "very weird looking," though writer Aaron Gordon adds, "I kind of love it." Mashable, which rounds up reactions on Twitter, says it's "cartoonish" and "baffling," labeling it a "duck truck." The New York Post, however, while agreeing it does in fact look like a duck, calls the design "sleek."
The USPS has more than 190,000 vehicles in its delivery fleet, many of which are more than 30 years old, and most of them will be replaced. The new trucks, which could start appearing on roads in 2023, will be more environmentally sustainable (they "will be equipped with either fuel-efficient internal combustion engines or battery electric powertrains and can be retrofitted to keep pace with advances in electric vehicle technologies"); they will be able to hold more cargo to increase efficiency; and they "will include air conditioning and heating, improved ergonomics, and some of the most advanced vehicle technology—including 360-degree cameras, advanced braking and traction control, air bags, a front- and rear-collision avoidance system that includes visual, audio warning, and automatic braking." While you might think air conditioning is so obvious it needn't be mentioned, the current trucks don't include it. (Read more US Postal Service stories.)