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The USPS needs 180,000 new delivery vehicles, automakers gearing up to bid

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Old 02-18-15, 01:15 PM   #1
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Default The USPS needs 180,000 new delivery vehicles, automakers gearing up to bid

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Winning the New York City Taxi of Tomorrow tender was a huge prize for Nissan, even though the company is still working through the process of claiming its prize. The United States Postal Service has begun the process to take bids for a new delivery vehicle to replace the all-too-familiar Grumman Long Life Vehicle, and that will be a much larger plum for the automaker who wins it, perhaps worth more than six billion dollars.

The Grumman LLV is an aluminum body covering a Chevrolet S-10 pickup chassis and General Motors' Iron Duke four-cylinder engine. The USPS bought them from 1987 to 1994, and the 163,000 of them still in service are a monumental drain on postal resources: they get roughly ten miles to the gallon instead of the quoted 16 mpg, drink up more than $530 million in fuel each year, and their constant repair needs like the balky sliding door and leaky windshields have led the service to increase the annual maintenance budget from $100 million to $500 million. A seat belt is about as modern as it gets for safety technology, and the USPS says that assuming things stay the same, it can't afford to run them beyond 2017. Last year it put out two triage requests for proposals seeking 10,000 new chassis and drivetrains for the Grumman and 10,000 new vehicles.

The LLV is also too small for the modern mail system in which package delivery is growing and letter delivery is declining. The service says it doesn't have a fixed idea of the ideal "next-generation delivery vehicles," but it listed a number of requirements in its initial request and is open to any proposal. Carriers have some suggestions, though, saying they want better cupholders, sun visors that they can stuff letters behind, a driver's compartment free of slits that can swallow mail, and a backup camera.

The request for information sent to automakers pegs the tender at 180,000 vehicles that would cost between $25,000 and $35,000 apiece, and it will hold a conference on February 18 to answer questions about the contract. GM is the only domestic maker to avow an interest, while Ford and Fiat-Chrysler have remained cagey. Yet with a possible $6.3 billion up for grabs and some new vans for sale that would be advertised on every block in the country, we have a feeling everyone will be listening closely come February 18.
http://www.autoblog.com/2015/02/18/u...akers-gearing/
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Old 02-18-15, 01:19 PM   #2
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Ford will likely be pushing the Transit Connect

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Old 02-18-15, 01:19 PM   #3
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Hopefully they will change things up...10 MPG is pretty lame for a 4 banger.
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Old 02-18-15, 01:31 PM   #4
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Hopefully they will change things up...10 MPG is pretty lame for a 4 banger.
All I can find about the powertrain is that it is an ancient 2.5L I4 unit dubbed 'Iron Duke' and mated to a 3-Speed GM Turbo-Hydromatic 180 AT
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Old 02-18-15, 01:36 PM   #5
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Ford will likely be pushing the Transit Connect

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Canada Post replaced their Grumman LLVs with the first-gen Transit Connect and few years back and were also showing interest in the EV version.
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Old 02-18-15, 02:28 PM   #6
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Or we could just not give the USPS more vehicles and figure out how not to lose 5.5 billion dollars a year.

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Hopefully they will change things up...10 MPG is pretty lame for a 4 banger.
Considering how much they stop and start, I'd say 10mpg is pretty good. Sure, it can certainly be improved on, but the context of how the vehicles is used is important.
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Old 02-18-15, 02:47 PM   #7
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It's a shame that Saturn is gone...especially with the innovative S-series line. I remember, back in the 90s, they had an ideal handy little postal vehicle, mostly for rural use, that was an SW plastic-bodied wagon with right-hand drive for easy access to rural mailboxes. That, of course, was not the answer to all postal needs, (especially a lot of large packages) but it was a handy solution to at least some of them.

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Old 02-18-15, 02:59 PM   #8
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Or we could just not give the USPS more vehicles and figure out how not to lose 5.5 billion dollars a year.

I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at here. Even at $5.5 B a year, if the USPS doesn't have enough vehicles left in operating condition to keep delivering mail to your residence, what would you do, then....just regularly drive yourself to the Post Office serving your zip-code and pick up your own mail?


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Considering how much they stop and start, I'd say 10mpg is pretty good. Sure, it can certainly be improved on, but the context of how the vehicles is used is important.
Not only the constant stop-and-go, but the fact that those postal vehicles are generally have short gearing, which is not conducive to economy, either.
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Old 02-18-15, 04:33 PM   #9
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I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at here. Even at $5.5 B a year, if the USPS doesn't have enough vehicles left in operating condition to keep delivering mail to your residence, what would you do, then....just regularly drive yourself to the Post Office serving your zip-code and pick up your own mail?
What I'm getting at is that reducing fuel costs and maintenance costs (especially at the cost of a significant capital outlay) won't solve any of the real financial calamity that is the USPS, and perhaps that's where the focus should be. Especially when we see such absurdity as the request factoring in package delivery - how about we leave package delivery to existing private companies that risk their own money and focus on how to make mail service not cost taxpayers billions of dollars a year.

And since you asked, I do the responsible thing and reject all mail at my residence. That's right - the postman doesn't even stop at my house and I get no mail. Why should I sit here and suck up taxpayer money because the USPS doesn't charge enough for mail to get delivered to me?
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Old 02-18-15, 05:13 PM   #10
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10 MPG is due to the constant stop and go, if they are smart, the next one would be an electric hybrid, instant 40+ MPG for the same usage.

All they need is a bunch of right hand drive Prius V, all hardwares already exist, problem solved
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Old 02-18-15, 05:21 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by gengar View Post
What I'm getting at is that reducing fuel costs and maintenance costs (especially at the cost of a significant capital outlay) won't solve any of the real financial calamity that is the USPS, and perhaps that's where the focus should be. Especially when we see such absurdity as the request factoring in package delivery - how about we leave package delivery to existing private companies that risk their own money and focus on how to make mail service not cost taxpayers billions of dollars a year.
Fuel costs in the U.S. lately, of course, have been quite low (the lowest in years)....but they aren't likely to stay that way. That will affect both the USPS and private companies.

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And since you asked, I do the responsible thing and reject all mail at my residence. That's right - the postman doesn't even stop at my house and I get no mail. Why should I sit here and suck up taxpayer money because the USPS doesn't charge enough for mail to get delivered to me?
Well, of course, there's nothing wrong with that, if you prefer. Picking it up at the post office also lessens the chances that things will either get lost, stolen, or delivered to the wrong address (I sometimes get mail intended for my nearby neighbors, and vice-versa). Mail-carrriers generally do a good job of sorting, but, being human, sometimes stuff things into the wrong box.

As I understand it, though, the only possible issue I see with the idea of sucking up tax-money, is that mail carriers are usually paid the same (or at least by the hour), regardless of the actual amounts of mail they deliver. So, they will probably get their wages whether they deliver to your house or not.

Also, most sources I've seen indicate that the USPS generally doesn't use taxpayer funds, except, in some cases, to mail voting materials overseas or to to disabled vets.
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Old 02-18-15, 06:48 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by mmarshall View Post
I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at here. Even at $5.5 B a year, if the USPS doesn't have enough vehicles left in operating condition to keep delivering mail to your residence, what would you do, then....just regularly drive yourself to the Post Office serving your zip-code and pick up your own mail?




Not only the constant stop-and-go, but the fact that those postal vehicles are generally have short gearing, which is not conducive to economy, either.

Have you heard of privatization? There are counties in the US that have privatized government services and even fire departments that have had local taxpayers benefit from financial efficiency.

It is disappointing we have many who claim to be conservative but are actually authoritarian. The state is not necessary for everything.
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Old 02-18-15, 07:03 PM   #13
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Have you heard of privatization? There are counties in the US that have privatized government services and even fire departments that have had local taxpayers benefit from financial efficiency.

I spent 33 years in the Federal Government dealing with privatization...I'm well aware of how it works, and its good and bad points. Part of my job was to instruct them, review their work, and correct mistakes.

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we have many who claim to be conservative but are actually authoritarian. The state is not necessary for everything.
The USPS, for the most part, operates like a business. The "state" part of it comes into play only in that the pay grades and benefits of USPS employes follow OPM (Office of Personnel Management) regulations for Federal employees. In that, it is similar to, but not actually part of, the Federal Government....or directly funded by taxpayers.
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Old 02-19-15, 02:01 AM   #14
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10 MPG is due to the constant stop and go, if they are smart, the next one would be an electric hybrid, instant 40+ MPG for the same usage.

All they need is a bunch of right hand drive Prius V, all hardwares already exist, problem solved
Agreed - this is one of the few cases where a hybrid system would probably actually pay off in fuel savings.
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Old 02-19-15, 02:09 AM   #15
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Only a hybrid/electric will work with all that stop and go. However, these units take a beating and have to be built to truck standards. Anything else is going to fall apart or not last more than a few years. If there is no such heavy-duty hybrid/electric available and they end up with a gas-fed trucklett, what would be cheaper? Having to replace a relatively new fleet of fragile hybrids or paying more for gas per year with a robust truck? Curious
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