The U.S. Postal Service is continuing on its quest to convert some of its 142,000 vehicles to electric models with a partnership with Bright Automotive, the manufacturer of the upcoming IDEA plug-in hybrid for commercial and government fleets . The auto startup will retrofit a standard USPS vehicle with an electric drivetrain and send out it out on the streets of Washington, D.C. for a year of testing. If all goes well, the Postal Service might have Bright convert even more of its vehicles to all-electric models.
Bright Automotive isn't the only auto company working on electric retrofits with the USPS. The Postal Service is also working with automotive conversion center AutoPort and EV developer AC Propulsion on a mail delivery vehicle outfitted with an AC Propulsion AC-150 drive system. Autoport's test USPS truck will also spend a year in DC for real-world testing.
Believe it or not, this isn't the first time the Postal Service has toyed with EVs. In 1996, USPS joined up with General Motors to convert mailing trucks to electric power. The plan was ditched when GM canceled its entire EV program a few years down the line. Now the Postal Service is set to lose $238 billion in the next 10 years because of a drop in mail volume. Imagine how much money could have been saved if USPS had continued its pursuit for EVs earlier on.