New Fed EX delivery van.


Well-known member
With a normal IC vehicle, you can just fill the tank and roll it out for a second route. An electric option is not as flexible.
Which is why hydrogen is an excellant choice. Recharging or refueling as fast a diesel without any fumes.... even indoors.... Infrastructure is all about demand. Hydrogen has its place.


Well-known member
These days AC is a standard feature on practically every passenger vehicle, as well as most medium and heavy trucks.
Yep, but there are more efficient ways to heat and cool called heat pumps. Heat pumps are the residential standard where I live today. The issue with an ICE, there is soo much inefficiency we have never needed to power ancillary accessories efficiently. AND all the new systems work way better. Heat the cab up, no need to start and warm up the engine, the heat pump is on/off instantly. Same with AC, no need to run the engine to cool the cab. Defrost, use a heated windshield..... and side windows, no different than the heated mirrors which are almost standard equipment today.

If you live in snow country you know how inefficient the ICE is. Heat equals energy and ICE are soo inefficient the heat loss melts the snow off the hood. On a cold day, we relish the heat as we open the hood. We have made great strides over the past 100 years but heat off an ICE is wasted energy. And we waste a whole lot of it.

The oppprtunities a pure electric vehicle offers are limitless. Most traction control systems today involve an electric interface to control braking or differentials or????? think how much easier if we eliminate all the ICE and hydrallic systems. We already have some electric steering...... that one does scare me unless we keep the mechanical link..... but regenerative braking minus the hydrallic component... why not. Same with regenerative shock absorbers.... adjusting instantly to road and load changes and charging the batteries incredibly fast over washboard. The opportunities are limitless.

Rather than delivering flammable fluids in tanker trucks.... deliver energy thru transmission lines...... to your garage. Oil changes.... why? Tune up... maybe every 10 years. Out of gas becomes dead battery... but your overlander has solar panels..... might take a day but beats walking 50 miles. ONE system does it all cooking, cooling, heat, travel, comms, refrigeration, navigation, photography, drones, bicycles, phones, cameras........ why burn gasoline.

And if you go turtle.... there is no dangerous goods spill

And looking at this photo.... think wheel end motors. No engine, rad, gas tank. No driveline, ujoints, transmission, transfer case, differentials. How much do all those things we won't need weigh???? Add wheel end motors, regenerative brakes and shocks. and batteries.... maybe not today but in 10 years I'm betting we get the efficiencies to the point a pure electric overlander with a 500 mile range is lighter than todays ICE overlanders with a 500 mile range. Not to mention the lower center of gravity, the ability to run submerged, the silence of it all. The simplicity, the comfort knowing we are generating ZERO CO and therefore ZERO chance of CO poisoning. ONE energy source, suplimented by the sun..... or a hydro generator thing in a stream.
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YouWOULD hope that's the case...

It all sounds easy and sensible on paper. But I've been in the vehicle service world for a long, long, time. I guarantee you, you're overestimating the logic they apply. I encourage the attempts, but I see major design/serviceability flaws far more often than you'd think from every manufacturer. I've seen the last 5 "finalists" for the postal fleet replacement. I was not surprised that every one of them failed to survive their first 6 month "on the job" testing run. (BTW, Workhorse, a company mentioned in the OP's news article, was also one of those finalists. It was all electric too.) Optimism is great. And like I said, I'm all for progress. But I'm also one of those "boots on the ground" and have lived to see what works in that real environment.

Think about it this way...
"Is it ever wise to buy the first year of a brand new model?"
Most savvy car buyers know there'll be teething pains and recalls, because EVERY manufacturer basically sends out beta versions to the public. Well this is the same thing, but with extreme use and a ton of money on the line.

Another thing for me is the charging. The article mentions they'll tap into the 500 charge points they have across the state. 500 in the whole state? I have one station alone in San Jose Ca with 110 LLV's. My total local area fleet has 2100 vehicles, and we're just covering Santa Clara and Monterey county. There's going to need to be some serious infrastructure upgrades to the post offices to handle the charging.

Most current/older generation delivery vehicles don't have AC. The USPS' main mail delivery vehicle is the GM based/ Grumman bodied LLV. Every one of them was built before 1994. VERY few of them have AC, and from what I've heard, the ones that do had it added in later. Back in the mid 80's/early 90's, air conditioning was still an optional, and fairly expensive option, for most vehicles. So VERY few of our fleet vehicles ever had AC. These days AC is a standard feature on practically every passenger vehicle, as well as most medium and heavy trucks. Some of that is because of the emissions verification process, where each engine package gets certified complete with all accessories. And having to develop different configurations is less cost effective with each generation. Our last generation Big Rig tractors, and our newest generations of 11-tons and 2-tons came with AC. There have also been some driver health problems that have arisen because of the lack of AC, including at least one recent death, so all the involved parties (unions) have been deciding if it's going to be an absolute requirement in the future.

So I've made my statements in this thread going with the assumption that all future vehicles will be required to have AC. But as of this moment, for our fleet, it's not required in the labor contract yet.

"Do you need AC/ heat in every market?"
Not at all. But I when you're buying a fleet, you have to assume your vehicles may be reallocated to different areas as needs change. So you typically buy one configuration that "fits all". My facility in the SF Bay Area got a new fleet of 11-ton box trucks for local use. Just like all the other areas that got trucks from this buy, ours came equipped with retractable snow chains. Completely useless in my area. But if they ever relocate to another area, they may be necessary.

(Honestly, as a fleet mechanic, AC is a royal pain. Again, the extreme use just seems to cause more faults. But like smog techs, AC techs need to be certified. Don't have a certified tech on staff? By law you now need to contract it out. Plus the machine and the refrigerant are added costs. And when it's hot, the drivers never think it's cooling enough, even when it's in spec because most cargo vehicles have little or no insulation. So now there's a vehicle out of service for the day, or more, while you chase a non existent problem. Etc. etc.)
That was kind of the idea behind the Grumman USPS van, no? I remember reading some literature on those and there was like a 500,000 mile design service life for them, obviously specifically designed for the day in - day out abuse.

What engines do you see the best service life out of? Gas vs diesel with all the stop and go? Seems like most UPS vans these days are all gas, I assume GMC, 5.3/6.0...

100% agree with the gas / diesel - electric drivetrain, never understood why that didn't take off, especially on big rigs....

Charles R

They were designed with a 24 year service life planned. They're basically just a Chevy S10 pickup with a fancy aluminum body made by Grumman. Most are powered by GM's 2.5L Tech-4 engine, with was the TBI injected version of the old "iron duke" engine. The newest ones are almost 30 now, and the oldest are near 40. Fun fact! The first digit of the vehicle number, is the last digit of its model year! The production run was 1985-1994. (Ok kids! What year is YOUR local mailman's ride? haha!) There was a second version called the FFV (Flex Fuel Vehicle, they're Ford Explorer based) built in 2000-2001, but those all start with a zero. In reality, many don't really have a ton of miles on them. In my region, few are over 200k, but most are well in the mid-100k range.

Here's some slightly interesting reading on what's going on with the vehicle that will replace the LLV, that also lists some of the current costs to maintain them.
Its just kind of a report from an internal audit of the process, but the numbers are pretty current. One thing they're a bit off on is that the total USPS fleet is the largest civilian vehicle fleet in the world. Not just the states. Another thing they mention in the article is "additional delivery points". The United States population has increased by almost 100 million more people. Plus, the LLV was designed around snail mail. Package volume was a Tiny fraction of what it is these days. So all the vehicles are working way harder than originally intended.

So they're HARD miles.