(The Hill) — The U.S. Postal Service will buy more than 9,000 Ford electric delivery vehicles, one year after an initial plan to buy predominantly gas-powered vehicles sparked controversy.
In an announcement Wednesday, USPS said it has awarded contracts to buy 9,250 Ford EVs, part of a vehicle electrification plan Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced in December. USPS will also buy an equivalent number of gas-powered vehicles from Stellantis and 14,000 charging stations.
“We are moving forward with our plans to simultaneously improve our service, reduce our cost, grow our revenue, and improve the working environment for our employees. Electrification of our vehicle fleet is now an important component of these initiatives,” DeJoy said in a statement. “We have developed a strategy that mitigates both cost and risk of deployment – which enable execution on this initiative to begin now.”
USPS will begin building out charging infrastructure across 75 locations over the next month, the service said in a statement.
In February of 2022, USPS announced its new vehicle order would be majority gas-powered, sparking outrage from environmentalists. It also prompted suspicions from some Democrats, who accused DeJoy, a longtime Republican donor appointed under the Trump administration, of undermining the Biden administration’s goals of decarbonizing the federal government. USPS maintains the largest single federal fleet.
DeJoy maintained that the USPS did not have the funds for a larger EV order, but in December 2022 announced that $3 billion in Inflation Reduction Act funds would be used to expand the USPS EV order and that new vehicles would be 100 percent electric after 2026.
In a statement, Adrian Martinez, deputy managing attorney for Earthjustice’s Right to Zero Campaign, praised the move but excoriated the continual use of electric vehicles.
“A thorough environmental review will show this to be a foolish waste of funds on gas-guzzling mail trucks – it’s 2023, and the United States should solely be investing in an electric future,” Martinez said.