USPS Looks To Replace the LLV, Starts With Delivery Trucks

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USPS Looks To Replace the LLV, Starts With Delivery Trucks

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Earlier this month the United States Postal Service prequalified 15 automakers to submit bids to build new postal trucks.

Trucks to replace the Grumman Long Live Vehicle, manufactured from 1987 to 1994. Despite being the butt of government standardization jokes, the LLV isn’t that bad, so long as you can look beyond the 60 MPH top speed, narrower front wheels, and inline-4 Iron Duke engine.

And avoid driving in snow. The LLV is terrible at that. But I guess that’s what you get when you have a one ton rear wheel drive box made of aluminum with the rear axle of a Chevy S-10 and the front axle of a Chevy Blazer.

It’s really not fair, though, to compare the LLV to a car or truck. Like most custom government built vehicles, it’s not made for performance or comfort. Rather, it’s made to last 20 years, but the 140,000 LLVs in the Postal Service’s fleet attest that, with regular maintenance, they can last much longer.

However, all good things well, unique things must come to an end eventually. Or at least be withdrawn from daily service. Maintaining the LLVs now costs over $525 million dollars, and despite their promised 17 MPG, stop-and-go driving pushes the LLV’s gas milage into the single digits. Also, drivers hate them. Something about no heater.

So the USPS has decided it might be worth the $6.3 billion dollars to buy 212,000 new trucks.

And $214 million of those dollars are going to Spartan Motors, of Charlotte, Michigan, for a 2,000 new delivery trucks. These trucks are mostly 18 to 24 foot cabovers, so they won’t be replacing the LLV, but it’s still a good first step.

Hopefully, the $37.4 million the USPS gave to six companies to make a prototype vehicle that will replace the LLV is well spent; hopefully it generates a brand new postal truck that by some miracle the USPS will be able to afford; and hopefully thousands of used LLVs go to the auction block. It would be pretty cool to buy one.

Now, the USPS just needs $6.3 billion dollars. However, it’s operating at a $5.1 billion loss and has $78.9 billion in unfunded liabilities, according the the Government Accountability Office, which, in an unexpected-from-Washington move, admitted that “the status quo is not sustainable.”

So these trucks are still going to be on the roads for a while, much to the benefit of government standardization jokes. Oh, and if you want another one, under Soviet control, Zaporizhia only offered one pickup truck. It was a rear engine model.

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