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Workhorse delivered big blow

USPS selects Wis. company for $8B vehicle contract

LORDSTOWN — Hopes were dashed here Tuesday when the U.S. Postal Service announced its multi-billion contract to build new postal vehicles was not going to the new Lordstown Motors Corp., but rather to a Wisconsin-based manufacturer.

Lordstown Motors’ local factory would have been the likely site for manufacture of the U.S. Postal Service vehicles if the the company’s Cincinnati-based affiliate, Workhorse, had landed the deal.

Ryan Hallett, spokesman for Lordstown Motors, said the decision won’t hurt the company.

“Lordstown Motors’ business plan was never reliant on Workhorse receiving the USPS contract,” Hallett said.

Though, “if they were awarded it, we would’ve loved to have been a part of the production team,” he said.

The company will continue focusing on building “the most cost-effective, safest, zero-emission work vehicles ever made,” Hallett said. The company still has 100,000 preorders for the Endurance.

The postal service on Tuesday announced it chose Oshkosh Defense to build its next-generation mail-delivery vehicle, part of an effort to make the USPS more environmentally friendly by switching a portion of its huge fleet to electric vehicles.

The announcement came the same day the Lordstown automaker released video footage of production of the new prototype body for the company’s new battery-powered pickup truck, the Endurance.

Oshkosh Defense, a division of Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Corp., will assemble 50,000 to 165,000 of the new Next Generation Delivery Vehicles at its existing U.S. manufacturing facilities. It will get an initial $482 million toward retooling and building out its factory.

Workhorse Group had been a finalist after placing a bid to build all-electric vehicles in the multiyear contract estimated at more than $8 billion over its life. Shares of Workhorse fell more than 47 percent after Tuesday’s announcement.

The postal service last updated its mail-delivery trucks 30 years ago, and major changes in the service’s operations have been made since then. Traditional mail volumes have declined, while the service now delivers millions of packages from online retailers such as Amazon that did not exist when the previous mail vehicle was introduced.

The USPS had been searching for a manufacturer for the trucks for more than five years. The new vehicles will replace the Grumman LLVs that currently serve as the USPS’s mail-delivery trucks. The trucks in service today were manufactured between 1987 and 1994 and were intended to only have 24-year life spans; all have passed that age.

The new trucks built by Oshkosh are estimated to be delivering mail by 2023.

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