The United States Postal Service announced Tuesday that to fulfill its “urgent need” for delivery vans, it plans to purchase thousands of electric vehicles from Ford, weeks after the automobile manufacturer agreed to a multibillion-dollar partnership with a Chinese battery maker.
In December 2022, the USPS and senior White House officials introduced a plan to acquire at least 66,000 electric delivery vehicles by 2028 to replace the mail company’s “aging delivery fleet of over 220,000 vehicles.”
After a “competitive search,” the USPS locked down a contract this week to purchase 9,250 Ford E-Transit Battery Electric Vehicles, which it anticipates will be delivered in December 2023. According to the recent announcement, the vans are “domestically sourced” and manufactured in Kansas City, Missouri.
Approximately $3 billion in Inflation Reduction Act funds will be used to cover the $9.6 billion vehicle investment.
In addition to the electric vehicle order, the USPS also awarded new contracts to three suppliers to purchase 14,000 EV charging stations to be installed at 75 Postal Service facilities in the next 12 months.
In a Tuesday statement, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy noted that the electric vehicle investment will help to “improve our service, reduce our cost, grow our revenue, and improve the working environment for our employees.”
“We have developed a strategy that mitigates both cost and risk of deployment – which enable execution on this initiative to begin now,” DeJoy stated. “I again want to thank the Administration officials and members of Congress who have assisted us in this initiative. Each has shown genuine understanding that our movement toward electrification must be thoughtful and deliberate, must appropriately manage risk, and must be consistent with our primary delivery mission for the American people.”
Roughly two weeks ago, Ford announced a $3.5 billion investment to build the nation’s first automobile manufacturer-backed lithium iron phosphate battery plant in Michigan, which will employ 2,500 people.
The battery factory will use technology provided by Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited, a China-based battery manufacturer that allegedly has ties to the Chinese government.
Until the factory is opened in 2026, Ford plans to import batteries from CATL for use in some U.S.-manufactured vehicles. According to the automaker, CATL’s technology will allow faster charging times and help with vehicle affordability.
Lisa Drake, Ford’s vice president of EV industrialization, told the Washington Post that the automaker carefully considered the growing tensions between the United States and China before agreeing to the deal.
“It’s really important to understand that Ford controls the plant,” Drake stated. She noted that CATL employees will assist with the setup of the plant, and some personnel “will be staying on afterwards to help with the facility.”
“But we will operate the facility,” Drake added. “It will be a Ford plant manager.”
When asked if it was appropriate for USPS to purchase vehicles from an automaker that recently announced a partnership with a China-based company, a Postal Service spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation, “We have an urgent need to replace some of our vehicles as soon as possible, and in those instances we will look to obtain vehicles that can be provided to us expeditiously, recognizing that there are a limited amount of BEV options currently available and that the charging infrastructure buildout will also take some time.”
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