It looks the part, but will it be the one selected?
The search for the United States Postal Service’s new mail truck continues. Though the government has rudely ignored our six suggestions – including options like an overnight Ferrari FF, and a go-anywhere Hummer H1 – the finalists have been narrowed down to six automakers. Our spy photographers recently caught up with one of the newest suiters, Mahindra, getting ready to test its mail truck here in the U.S. for the first time.
Wearing the appropriate USPS livery, the proposed Mahindra mail truck definitely looks the part. In line with the postal services' demand for larger vehicles that are better equipped to handle bigger packages, the truck comes with plenty of added rear storage over the current USPS vehicles. It almost looks like a miniature version of the larger courier trucks.
It’s more modern, too. Features like air conditioning, a push-button start, a push-button gear selector, and a driver’s airbag have all been added, bringing the iconic postal truck into the modern age. Power is expected to come from either a four-cylinder engine or possibly even a turbodiesel rather than the earlier proposed hybrid setup. It’s unclear exactly what platform the prototype rides on.
The Mahindra postal service prototype will be evaluated alongside five other potential new candidates before a final decision is made. Those vying for the contract include AM General, Karsan/Morgan Olson, Oshkosh, Utilimaster Corp., and VT Hackney/Workhorse, a handful of which have already been spotted testing on public roads.
The new Postal Service contract will put up to 180,000 new vehicles on the road over the course of seven years, an estimated $6.3 billion worth of business. "Real-world" testing of the prototypes kicked off in October, and will continue in cities like Flint, Michigan; Leesburg, Virginia; and Tucson, Arizona, before a decision is made early in 2018.