The Postal Service once said that it would announce a winner in the competition as soon as last month, but officials now tell Trucks.com that the vehicles are still being evaluated.
Five companies remain in the running to win all or part of the business to design and manufacture up to 180,000 new right-hand drive delivery vehicles for the independent agency. The contract could be worth up to $6.3 billion by some estimates, with the work spread over five or more years. Electric vehicles and hybrids are part of the prototype mix.
The acquisition process was launched in January 2015. Street testing began in fall 2017. Early estimates by the agency called for a final contract award in 2018, with deployment of the production vehicles in the summer of 2019. That timeframe is now in question.
“Given the early phase of the program — prototype testing phase — the Postal Service has not yet finalized a timeline to release a solicitation to procure purpose-built delivery vehicles,” said U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman Kim Frum in an email to Trucks.com.
Other factors also may be contributing to the wait to replace the agency’s aging fleet of mail trucks, including potential political headwinds.