The U. S. Postal Service (USPS) has awarded Navistar a developmental contract to engineer a replacement diesel powertrain for postal delivery vehicles. The move aims to counter substantially escalating service and fuel costs associated with the aging USPS fleet. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.
USPS said it will deliver one of its Long Life Vehicles (LLV) to Navistar Engine Group’s Engineering and Technical Center in Melrose Park, IL. There the OEM will develop, install and test a diesel powertrain featuring Navistar’s MaxxForce 3.2-liter turbocharged diesel engine as a replacement for largely gasoline-fueled engines in the postal fleet.
“When the USPS current fleet was first put into service, diesel fuel and advanced diesel powertrain technology were not widely available,” said Andrew Dondlinger, vp of North America operations, Navistar Engine Group. “Now, by replacing its gasoline powertrains, USPS could realize diesel’s benefits of fuel efficiency, long operational life and low service and operating costs.”
He added that this diesel upgrade solution for USPS, which is expected to take a decade to complete, could significantly lower costs for the postal service as it is not uncommon for diesel powertrains to achieve fuel economy gains of up to 35% when compared to gasoline powertrains.
Further savings, according to Dondlinger, would be gained from diesel’s lower maintenance requirements, longer service life, and overall lower cost of ownership.
Navistar estimates USPS could realize payback on each re-powered vehicle in as little as two years, depending on maintenance and fuel costs.