Oshkosh Teams With Ford On $6-Billion USPS Mail Truck Bid

March 06, 2018 by Jerry Hirsch, @Jerryhirsch

Ford Motor Co. is working with Oshkosh Corp. on a bid that could be worth more than $6 billion to develop the next mail truck for the U.S. Postal Service.

At least one prototype of the truck, which is based on Ford’s Transit cargo van, was seen undergoing testing in rural Ohio.

Oshkosh is one of five companies competing in the USPS’ Next Generation Delivery Vehicle Program. But Ford wasn’t known to be a partner in its venture until the prototype was recently spotted.

Trucks.com photos of the vehicle show that it has the Ford Transit body with modifications to the doors and cargo area by Oshkosh to meet USPS requirements. It also has the same headlamps and taillights Ford uses in the Transit as well as a similar grille shape and driver cockpit.

Ford confirmed that it is working as a supplier to Oshkosh. A spokeswoman for Oshkosh declined to discuss the bid except to confirm that it is one of the companies providing prototypes for the Postal Service to evaluate.

Although the agency also is looking at prototypes from other manufacturers that employ battery-electric and plug-in hybrid powertrains, the Oshkosh-Ford entrant has an internal-combustion engine.

Cameras are located on the front, back and both sides of the vehicle to give the driver a better view of the truck’s surroundings. They could provide a 360-degree view similar to technology inside the Ford F-150 pickup truck.

The right-side cargo door appears to be powered. The USPS eagle logo is painted on each side of the truck.

  • (All photos: Brian Williams/Trucks.com)
The Oshkosh-Ford truck looks to be larger than the other four vehicles the Postal Service is evaluating.  It is the high-roof version of the van, which would allow mail workers to stand in the cargo area while loading and unloading. It was undergoing tests on both paved and dirt roads in frigid weather last week.

The USPS will choose models from the prototypes to replace up to 180,000 aging mail trucks. Of the 215,000 in operation, 140,000 are at least two decades old.  The changeover — which may be incremental, replacing 12,000 trucks at a time — could take place over the course of seven years. The contract is worth an estimated $6.3 billion.

The Transit is produced at Ford’s Kansas City assembly plant in Claycomo, Mo. It is the leading Euro-style cargo van in the U.S. Ford sold 127,360 last year, more than triple the volume of the next best seller, the Ram ProMaster Van from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

In addition to the Oshkosh/Ford entry, the Postal Service is testing vehicles from other teams.

Karsan Otomotive, a Turkish truck maker, is working with Morgan Olson, a Sturgis, Mich., manufacturer of walk-in vans that has a longstanding relationship with USPS. The pair submitted a plug-in hybrid van that was spotted alongside the Oshkosh vehicle last week.

VT Hackney/Workhorse Group also are participating as a duo to offer up an electric mail truck. The Hackney prototype shares many components with the Workhorse W-15 electric pickup truck.

Additionally, AM General of South Bend, Ind., submitted an internal-combustion engine truck with start-stop technology for improved fuel efficiency. The U.S. division of the Indian manufacturer Mahindra, known for building right-hand drive commercial vehicles, entered a truck with a mild hybrid system, according to a National Highway Transportation Safety Administration filing.

Testing of the prototypes started last fall. The USPS has been running the trucks up against extreme weather conditions, including cold climates in rural Ohio and Michigan and hot weather areas such as Tucson, Ariz. Other test locations include Tempe, Ariz.

The USPS said it would choose the contract winner in early 2018. On Friday the agency declined to comment on the status of its decision.

Read Next: Postal Service Testing Karsan Plug-in Hybrid Mail Truck

15 Responses

  1. Randy

    Now you know why no one saw the Oshkosh prototype it is the best of market “off the shelf” vehicle modified to meet USPS needs. They are everywhere already.

    • Randy

      Those are both included with minimums (Heat and cooling) in the USPS vehicle requirements… All the Prototypes must have them. The design/seals to contain the Heat and Conditioned Air will be the more Important test for each vehicle. You can produce the proper levels but if it exits the vehicle as fast as it is produced you will still feel just as uncomfortable.

    • howard

      Check, any floor heat. Should be easier for the USPS to afford new trucks with the money they have saved not paying the help for all the increased net sales/packages to the door, in recent years.

      • Randy

        I’ve not been in a Ford Transit, but I would assume they have the standard Floor, Dash and Defrost Air zones.

    • Howie

      If the floors and firewall were insulated, that would help quite a bit.

    • Randy

      They have both variants FWD and Oshkosh speciality is 4X4 6X6 or 8X8 so there is definitely a 4×4 prototype.

  2. Cat

    Going with the Oshgosh. The 360 view and standup room are plus factors, as well as the actual design of the frontal slope. Prevents wind push back. Option needs all wheel or 4 wh as that is the whole motto of mail delivery service, is it not? “Rain, sleet or snow – mail must go through” or something to that effect.

  3. Mch

    Trying going back and redesigning a vehicle that has visabilty and air flow and is not a major safety issue.


  4. Scott Lang


  5. John

    Leave it to USPS to stick with pot lid mirrors in the back instead of cameras. And I doubt the vehicle will have a good heater. None that I ever drove did.

    • Randy

      The article stated that the Oshkosh/Ford vehicle has cameras on each side for a 360 degree view… The mirrors are for extra safety? Maybe part of the requirement, but redundant.

  6. Robert Schlosser

    EV’s !!! , I think Tesla proves that combustion engine companies GM, Ford, and Chrysler companies are The Zombie Corps.

    That’s why the winner for a huge percentage of the contract is going to be Workhorse.

    The current trucks operated at 40$ / mile ! Oshkosh Ford with absolutely 0 innovation may get a small percent possibly used in remote rural areas.

    The Oshkosh/Ford trucks have an extremely annoying feature of the fact you can’t get to the back unless you get out of the cab, very bad design feature.


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