usps trucks catch fire
by Rockwell Sands @

While USPS Trucks Catch Fire, Amazon Doubles Down on Electric Fleet

Postal Service is stuck in the past with inefficient and outdated delivery vehicles while Amazon races towards an all-electric future

When it comes to delivering packages to the American people, the US Postal Service and Amazon are at the forefront. USPS handles more deliveries than any other shipping carrier, with about 20 million packages per day circulating through its network. Amazon, compared to the big three (USPS, UPS, and FedEx), is still lagging behind. However, when it comes to package delivery, the eCommerce giant is blazing new trails in many other ways. While outdated USPS trucks keep catching fire across the country, Amazon recently revealed an all-electric delivery van from Rivian that will account for 100,000 vehicles in its delivery fleet by 2030.

USPS Trucks Have Been Catching Fire Throughout the Country

It’s true that USPS trucks have been catching fire more recently than ever. In fact, this phenomenon was so prevalent that Vice published a report on it this summer. While some may chalk it up to coincidence, seeing a postal truck engulfed in flame is more than just a sign of the times for the year 2020. It’s the result of outdated delivery vehicles, and a billion-dollar budget crisis that dates back all the way to 2006.

USPS Trucks Have Long Outstayed Their 24-Year Life Expectancy

Just by looking at these USPS trucks around the country, it’s no secret that they are long outdated. All the USPS trucks that Americans see on the streets are Grumman Long Life Vehicles (or LLVs, for short). Northrup Grumman developed these vans specifically for the Postal Service, and once upon a time, they were cutting edge. The vans are powered by Pontiac engines, and use three-speed transmissions. They feature a 1,000-pound cargo capacity, and have a life expectancy of roughly 24 years. Since May 2014, however, more than 407 of these LLVs have sustained damage or destruction from spontaneously catching fire.

The last time USPS got new LLVs was in 1994—26 years ago. Considering the amount of Americans that rely on USPS for package deliveries every day, it may be high time to begin replacing these LLV’s with some safer, more efficient electric vehicles…just like Amazon is doing now.

Amazon’s New Electric Vans from Rivian Feature State of the Art Technology

On the opposite end of the shipping industry, Amazon is on the cusp of rolling out an all-electric delivery fleet. Their new vans come from electric vehicle start up Rivian, and feature state-of-the-art technology such as sensing equipment and an advanced driver-assist system. Like all modern cars, the vans will come with exterior cameras linked to a digital display on the dashboard, providing the driver with 360-degree view outside the vehicle. The vans will also come integrated with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, providing hands-free navigation and real-time weather updates. Many of the Postal Service’s Grumman LLVs, on the other hand, don’t even have air conditioning inside of them.

At the time of publishing this article, it’s unclear whether or not Amazon plans to replace its entire delivery fleet with these new all-electric Rivian vans. That very well may be the case over the course of the next ten years. Amazon says it expects to have 10,000 Rivian vehicles on the road by 2022, and by 2030, the company expects a total Rivian fleet of 100,000 vehicles.

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