Another prototype mail delivery truck in the running for a lucrative U.S. Postal Service contract has been spotted while awaiting testing.

Spy photographers captured images of the truck, built by the Indian auto manufacturer Mahindra, recently on a USPS lot in Flint, Mich.

The Mahindra truck is one of five entries under review by the USPS Next Generation Delivery Vehicle Program that is expected to select a new mail truck in the first half of 2018. The USPS contract is for up to 180,000 trucks.

It is the latest mail truck test vehicle documented in the secretive program since another entry built by VT Hackney Inc. and Workhorse Group Inc. was seen in Leesburg, Va. last month.

Mahindra mail truck front angle

Mahindra mail truck. (Photo: Brian Williams)

The post office has yet to reveal details about the configurations of the five candidates or their drivetrains. But a physical inspection and government filing provide significant details about the Mahindra truck.

Though the truck made by VT Hackney and Workhorse is fully electric, the Mahindra truck offers the option of gasoline or mild-hybrid powertrains, according to a recent National Highway Transportation Safety Administration filing by Mahindra North American Technical Center Inc.

The truck will be powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine made by General Motors— possibly the same engine in the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickup trucks. In those vehicles the engine makes 200 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque.

Mahindra mail truck front

Mahindra mail truck. (Photo: Brian Williams)

Some versions of the Mahindra truck will have a mild hybrid system, according to the filing. GM currently produces a mild hybrid system called eAssist on the same 2.5-liter engine that is standard on the 2018 Buick LaCrosse.

The filing also reveals that if Mahindra wins the contract, it will build two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive versions of the mail delivery truck, and that an automatic engine start-stop system is available on two-wheel drive models.

The design will be exclusive to the USPS, and Mahindra will build the truck in three weight classes: 6,001 to 7,000 pounds (Class E); 7,001 to 8,000 pounds (Class F); and 8,001 to 9,000 pounds (Class G).

The Mahindra truck bears a closer resemblance to the current mail truck, the Grumman Long Life Vehicle, than the Hackney/Workhorse truck. Its boxy exterior design and tall roof provide plenty of cargo space. An assortment of external mirrors enhances outward visibility.

Mahindra Mail truck back

Mahindra mail truck. (Photo: Brian Williams)

Technology plays a central role in the new truck. Cameras are mounted to the side of the Mahindra truck near the roofline, and there may be a forward-facing camera in the front grille as well.

The driver controls the transmission using electronic buttons on the dashboard. There is also a large infotainment screen in front of the driver in lieu of a traditional tachometer and other gauges.

The right-hand drive truck is equipped with an electronic start/stop button. Climate control knobs are on the left side of the wheel. The shape of the steering column may indicate that the Mahindra truck features electronic power steering rather than a traditional hydraulic system.

The postal service is currently testing all five finalists in the competition in various locations across the country.

In addition to Mahindra and Hackney/Workhorse, entries from AM General, Karsan and Oshkosh are also under consideration.

Mahindra mail truck interior

Mahindra mail truck interior. (Photo: Brian Williams)

The current Grumman mail truck has been in service since the 1980s. There are about 215,000 trucks in rotation today and approximately 140,000 are at least two decades old.

Mahindra builds a wide array of trucks, SUVs and commercial vehicles for the Indian market. The postal service truck would be unlike anything it has produced for the United States.

Currently Mahindra sells tractors and utility vehicles in the U.S. and operates the Mahindra North American Technical Center production facilities in Troy, Mich.

Read next: Spy Shots – The Postal Service’s New Electric Mail Truck

About The Author

Ryan ZumMallen

Ryan ZumMallen is a Trucks.com staff writer who covers the light truck market. A Long Beach, Calif. resident, his automotive writing has appeared in Car and Driver, Road & Track, The Verge, AutoBytel and elsewhere. He can be found on Twitter: @Zoomy575M

10 Responses

  1. Yvette Renee Coleman

    The USPS needs NEW SEMI tractors, 7 AND 11 TON trucks to get the mail delivered to the local station and in between p&dc centers. 13 plus year old vehicles

    Reply
  2. Jay

    that looks like it could be a docking station for the scanners on the left of the steering wheel

    Reply
  3. Timothy

    Carriers can’t even drive the old LLV, FFV, and the new Sprinters without making a total mess of them. Here’s hoping the USPS actually puts them through a rigorous training program before letting anyone drive the new vehicles.

    Reply
  4. 5kcammer

    I hope they opt for the hybrid,any 4 cylinder engine of 2.5 liter size is going to be thirsty!

    Reply
  5. Angie Kremers

    A new fleet of well thought out LLV’s are long past over-due. The last attempt at replacement, the USPS invested in left-hand drive caravans which were only suitable for carriers who did park & loop. A simply irresponsible buy considering the majority of the carriers deliver from the vehicles on the right-hand side. Now back to the USPS’s current LLV’s , to truly understand how inappropriate & unreliable they have become you only need to either speak with a carrier or drive one for a week ( hell even a day). The USPS will allow no after factory modifications to the vehicles to improve performance. For instance the windshield wiper are horrible in the winter & do a poor job clearing snow & ice, winter blades can’t be substituted to improve visibility. The trucks size have become inadequate for the volume of packages carriers are dealing with & the rear of the trucks aren’t water-tight so often-times the packages become wet & soggy if it’s a rainy day. The current LLV’s are also rear- wheel drive, they’re not designed to be driven in areas that receive snow. Sometimes even looking at looking at a snowdrift can cause an LLV to become stuck. The USPS is a workplace that drills safety,safety,safety & yet they oftentimes send their carriers out in trucks with fingers crossed because even though we can hear the brakes are squealing or the starter is acting up it’s quite not due for scheduled maintenance unless of course it totally dies on you. The USPS is “Reactive not Proactive”.

    Reply

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