In a Facebook group for postal workers, a user shared a collage of photos of some electric vehicles that the United States Postal Service was in possession of at their Research and Engineering site in Fairfax Virginia. In this collage were two similar but different Canoo delivery vehicles.
UPDATE: 10/20/2023 2:30 EST
X(formerly Twitter) user @canooclub was able to add additional evidence to these Canoo LDV's being located in a lot owned and operated by USPS seen below:
The Lifestyle Delivery Vehicle 130(or LDV 130) is the original Delivery Vehicle variant designed by Canoo, a fully electric Class 1 electric cargo van. It was engineered to have the turning radius of a small passenger vehicle on a parking friendly, compact footprint, yet the payload and cargo space of a commercial delivery or utility vehicle. It is perfect for high frequency stop-and-go deliveries and speedy vehicle to door drop-off, so much so that Walmart signed a binding order last year for 4500 with the option to extend it to up to 10,000 units. The LDV 190, the 130s big brother, is a fully electric Class 2 cargo van with a heavier duty suspension with 30 percent more space and 21 percent greater payload capacity. Despite its increased payload load capacity and body length, the 190 should sport the same dynamic handling and performance as the 130.
We've been following the USPS and Canoo story since first reporting on it back in October of 2022 where we suggested that USPS was likely in early discussions with Canoo on their offerings.
The latest update prior to todays was just a few months ago in July where these two same models were seen outside of USPS headquarters in DC being shown off and test driven by USPS executives.
In June of this year, USPS put out a draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement(SEIS) concerning the on-going discussion of how they plan to roll out the electrification of their fleet. Worth noting from this SEIS is a public comment and response section where someone suggested directly that "USPS should consider other vehicle manufacturers, including Workhorse, Rivian, Arrival, Canoo and GM
Their response to this, was that they continually consider new offerings that come to market, even having them participate in pilot programs when deemed prudent. However, in that same response they deflected a bit and referred to Section 3-3 of the draft SEIS which states their preferred vehicles to purchase along with the Oshkosh NGDV's were ICE Mercedes Metris vans, ICE ProMaster vans and BEV Ford E-Transits.
The following month in July they held another public hearing regarding the Draft SEIS, held an open comment period until August and continued to finalize the document until last month when they released the final SEIS on September 29th.
Here is the quick take away from the final SEIS on how USPS would like to move forward over the next six years:
Purchase 60,000 NGDV from Oshkosh, with 75% of them being batter electric vehicles(BEVs)
Purchase 14,500 Right-Hand Drive(RHD) Commercially Off The Shelf(COTS) ICE vehicles
Purchase a mixed bag of an additional 31,980 COTS vehicles(either RHD or LHD) and/or more NGDVs, with at least 66%, or 21,106 of this package being BEVs.
After this period of time, USPS would issue a new Record of Decision (ROD) and an updated NEPA analysis before deciding how to purchase another 60,000 delivery vehicles. The Postal Service believes this would be more responsive to the evolving operational strategy, technology improvements, and changing market conditions (e.g., the expected increased availability of BEV options in the future)
USPS kept table 3-3.2, the COTS basis of design schedule referenced above, the same in the final SEIS; indicating a preference for the ICE ProMaster or BEV E-Transit over other vans available. In a public comment response, USPS said that at the time of their analysis only one COTS BEV(Ford E-Transit) met their operational requirements and had sufficient available quantities in the deployment window.
However, they did amend or clarify the acquisition strategy that the preferred manufacturer was not written in stone:
Additionally, to better take advantage of rapid changes in the COTS market and to better ensure access to either RHD or LHD COTS delivery vehicles capable of meeting the Postal Service’s demanding operational requirements, the Postal Service is clarifying that Alternative 1 allows for the ICE and BEV COTS specified in Tables 3-3.2 to be replaced with equivalent or superior COTS delivery vehicles. - Section 3-3.3 paragraph 6
This means that should a new vehicle come to market and meet or exceed the operational requirements, then they can replace the existing preferred vehicles on the schedule as basis of design and be included in future procurements.
Canoo hasn't released specifications on the LDV 190 yet, so it's not clear just how it would compare to the current favorite, the E-Transit, or even what other competitors might bring to the table; but as it stands today, there is a reasonable expectation that Canoo has a shot at securing at least a portion of the 31,980 COTS package and be a contender in the follow up purchase of 60,000 delivery vehicles in the next ROD.
One more thing in Canoo's favor over their competitors is the unrivaled ability to move around the steering mechanisms thanks to their patented Steer By Wire system. This means they can swap between Left Hand Drive or Right Hand Drive without having to redesign the entire vehicle or skateboard due to there being no mechanical linkage between the steering wheel(or yoke) and steering components in the skateboard.
Another interesting item in the SEIS to consider with regard to Canoo's platform as mentioned above is that they state that should additional RHD vehicles become available, they would be willing to go beyond the target of 14,000 ICE RHD vehicles. USPS clearly prefers them by saying that "RHD vehicles are generally superior to LHD vehicles in terms of efficiency, performance, and safety for Postal Service routes"
While the Canoo LDVs in the USPS parking lot don't appear to be RHD, as we still see the infotainment screen on the left, it would be foolish to assume Canoo isn't actively developing a RHD module to avail themselves to a larger share of the delivery market, postal or otherwise.
The other interesting looking delivery vans seen in the lot next to the Canoo LDVs are C250s from Morgan Olson and will be deployed in the Canadian market for Canada Post. Other notable RHD delivery vans that could crop up as competition would be the Rivian EDV after the exclusivity contract with Amazon expires, and the Right-Hand Drive Van by Envirotech.
After the final SEIS has was issued, a 30-day waiting period started and then the Postal Service will announce its final decision in a Record of Decision (ROD) at the end of this month.
We're sure USPS would like this "final" SEIS to actually be the final word on this topic, but it seems likely that the lawsuits over the purchase plan demanding USPS reach 95-100% BEVs will probably resume soon. So the next step is probably a recurring theme in government dealings: "Hurry up and wait"
Off Topic: Unrelated to the USPS connection, but still really cool, is the crash test footage of the Canoo being "tested to break, not just to pass". This means pushing the limits and testing all systems under extreme conditions to see how it performs when subjected to stress, strain, or challenges far beyond what it would typically encounter in its intended use. Enjoy!
Canoo USPS Delivery Vehicle