Spy Shots: New Look at the Karsan Mail Truck Prototype

June 18, 2018 by Ryan ZumMallen, @Zoomy575M

Trucks.com spy photographers caught the U.S Postal Service mail truck prototype built by Turkish automaker Karsan Otomotive outside a test track in the Midwest recently.

New photos of the vehicle driving on public roads in East Liberty, Ohio, reveal unique features such as defrosters embedded in the side windows, which has never been seen on a mail truck prototype before. In fact, a side window defroster is not available on any production passenger car today.

The USPS is evaluating vehicles from five teams as it readies a contract for a new generation mail truck. Karsan entered the competition in a partnership with U.S. van manufacturer Morgan Olson. The deal is expected to be worth more than $6 billion.

The photos indicate the prototype is a plug-in hybrid. There is a charging port on the right side of the truck near the front fender.

  • Karsan mail truck prototype. (All photos: Brian Williams/Trucks.com)
The prototype ran on electric power as it accelerated up to speed, according to photographers. It then appeared to be powered by a gasoline internal combustion engine rather than diesel, which is typically used for commercial trucks.

Fit and finish on the mail truck doesn’t come close to what consumers expect from the light vehicle market. Even commercial vehicles such as the Ford Transit or heavy-duty pickup trucks like the F-350 deliver a higher level of quality.

The seams on either side of the grille look to be different sizes. Some panels and lights are slightly off-kilter. The electric port looks like a rough cut out with two exposed bolts holding the hinge.

In fairness, this is a prototype built for testing and is likely not what Karsan would deliver as a production vehicle. The truck sports a different color scheme than previous versions of the Karsan entry spotted earlier this year.

The addition of the side window defroster could be an attempt to address mail carrier complaints that the current mail truck suffers from poor insulation in cold climates.

A total of five entries are bidding for the USPS contract. The agency is looking for up to 180,000 trucks as it replaces the aging Grumman Long Life Vehicle. The Grumman LLV, as it’s known, has served as the standard delivery truck since 1987.

The other competitors include AM General, Oshkosh Corp., Mahindra and a partnership between VT Hackney and Workhorse Group.

The USPS has declined comment on the competition but is expected to announce its award later this year.

Read Next: How Politics Complicate the New Mail Delivery Truck Contract

10 Responses

  1. blasse dunbar

    They should also have a dash cam to see what they are doing not all mail carriers are honest

    • Hector

      Dear Ms or Mr Dumbar,

      Not all people are honest either. Shouldn’t we then have some sort of cams on the entire population at work? Can we set one up on you at your job?

      Hector, 30-year-retired mailcarrier.

  2. Patrick

    No doubt about it it’s an ugly truck but the article is correct when it says it’s just a prototype. A lot of Prototypes are rough cut. Of course even the way it is it’s a significant improvement over what we drive now. Anything would be.

    • William Lippencott

      To hand such a large government contract to a muslim country sounds like an Obama era decision. this should be stopped immediately.

      • Konstantin

        The turks are not real muslims, don’t worry. They don’t take that crap seriously. They are just muslims on paper. Most of them can’t read the koran in arabic, don’t attend mosques, a lot of them smoke, drink and live a hedonist lifestyle, their women are open minded, easy to talk to, and don’t dress like ninjas. If you wan’t to party go to turkey. They also have nice beaches and a lot of the “muslim” women go topless and it is not even frown upon. I just blew your mind, didn’t I. Their culture is more western than oriental. They use their religion to define their identity and the “christian” balkan countries next to it do the same.

      • kelvin

        Karsan has wisely teamed up with the incumbent. Morgan Olson was part of Grumman when they won the 1985 contract, and are makers of the current USPS LLV. (Grumman Olson) Not so sure that Olson played any role in the development of the 5 Karsan prototypes, but they will be the manufacturer if they win. This previous relationship may be an edge.

  3. Mirna Pickering

    Well, if they are addressing carriers complaints such as lack of insulation and side window defrosters. Keep these trucks where it’ll be suitable. Send us the trucks with the AIR CONDITIONERS!

  4. Kman

    Ryan I hope you folks at trucks dot com realize that there are 5 different prototypes from each company being tested. So this is the second Karsan vehicle you have spied and this one is a plug in. Good job finding it, but Karsan didn’t “sport a different color scheme” as the article states, it’s a completely different vehicle.

    “The truck sports a different color scheme than previous versions of the Karsan entry spotted earlier this year.


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