The U.S. Postal Service is getting new mail delivery trucks with 360-degree cameras, advanced braking and a front- and rear-collision avoidance system. The new fleet of trucks will also be partly electric.
Oshkosh Defense, based in Wisconsin, received the multibillion-dollar contract to make the new vehicles, USA Today reports. The trucks should be making it to a street near you around 2023.
New Postal Service Fleet Sparks Debate
But the design of the trucks has ignited a firestorm on social media. Some Twitter users are lambasting the new trucks’ look, per People magazine. People can’t decide if the new trucks are adorable or “dorkmobiles.”
Politico transportation reporter Sam Mintz posted a poll on Twitter in search of definitive data. Is the new design “sleek and cool,” he asked his followers, or “an ugly duckling”?
Unfortunately for the USPS, 59.9% of respondents said “ugly duckling.”
Other Twitter users compared the truck to the car Homer designed in an episode of “The Simpsons,” to Dr. Finkelstein in “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” to a beluga whale, to their attempt to draw a truck in primary school and to a creation by Richard Scarry, author of the “Busytown” children’s books.
Trucks Controversial for Not Being Fully Electric
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy revealed on Wednesday that just 10% of the new truck fleet will be electric, Bloomberg reports.
Environmentalists are crying foul, citing a White House executive order that calls for government vehicles to go electric.
“The lack of commitment from the USPS to electrify its fleet directly contradicts the Biden administration’s goals and executive order to clean up pollution from the US government’s vehicles,” the Sierra Club’s Gina Coplon-Newfield told Bloomberg.
But DeJoy told the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday that the U.S. Postal Service just doesn’t have the money to convert to a fully electric fleet.
“We don’t have the 3 or 4 billion dollars in our plan right now, that it would take to do it,” DeJoy said. “But we’re happy to talk with the administration and with this Congress.”
John Pfeifer, the president and chief operating officer of Oshkosh Defense, told Bloomberg that Oshkosh designed the new vehicles to use either an internal combustion system or an electric battery one. The vehicles reportedly can be retrofitted to batteries as electric technology grows.
“You have the ability to change compulsion systems as technology develops,” Pfeifer said. “This perfectly dovetails with what” Biden has ordered “because we provide a very cost-effective electric vehicle for the Postal Service.”
Unfortunately, there’s no updating the look of the new vehicles. So the U.S. Postal Service is stuck with a fleet of ugly ducklings for the foreseeable future. But at least the new vehicles don’t spontaneously burst into flames – as far as we know right now.