USPS is apparently testing mail delivery bikes

The United States Post Office moved forward in February with a 10-year, $6 billion deal with Oshkosh Defense for up to 165,000 new trucks to replace its aging delivery fleet. These are gas-powered vehicles that get a dismal 8.6 miles per gallon, a 0.4 increase over the outgoing Grumman LLV trucks we’ve seen for many years. Amid calls from the Biden administration and the EPA for more electric vehicles in the mix, the USPS announced a few days ago that it would “increase the number of BEVs in the mix as financial resources become available and the Postal Service refines our network and vehicle operations strategy”.

One potential solution is to use e-bikes, which require less energy and infrastructure and can serve a variety of areas. Elektrek reported yesterday that the USPS is indeed testing e-bikes in Florida with 500 Wh units made by Montana-based Coaster Cycles, but the agency is keeping the details pretty tight for now. Except Elektrek report and an article by City Delivery Director Christopher Jackson in The postal registerdetails are slim on this interesting initiative.

Jackson said four e-bikes (two each of two different models) would be tested at two locations in Florida with existing bike lanes. Each e-bike included two batteries, a rear-facing camera, rear brake lights, turn signals on the bike and mirrors, turn signals, front lights, and an alarm system.

“The city carrier assigned to the cycle route will box and prepare the mail in the morning”, Jackson explained. “The mail is then transported and delivered by a relay driver to a series of relay boxes that the bike rack picks up throughout the day.”

“…[light electric vehicles] are much cheaper than electric cars and trucks,” Mina Nada, CEO of e-bike manufacturer Zoomosaid in an article by fast business. “Even beyond the fact that LEVs do not require additional charging stations and infrastructure, buying an e-bike is less than a third of the cost of a truck. And that’s not even taking into account the lifetime cost savings associated with owning a truck, including gas, insurance, parts, and more.

Besides fuel savings, these e-bikes seem to have a fun factor, at least from an outside perspective. These cool-looking test e-bikes can hold up to 400 pounds of cargo and can come to a quick stop with hydraulic brakes. For light riding in neighborhoods and some urban areas, this could be a great solution for the beleaguered USPS amid the Oshkosh defense controversy.

Bonus: e-bikes are more likely to outrun overzealous mail haulers who hate pooches on the roads.

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