WASHINGTON—Pending multi-billion-dollar acquisitions of delivery vehicles by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), with changes in vehicle design motivated by e-commerce and other considerations, could mean big changes in the postal service's light truck tire purchases.
Precisely what those changes will be, however, is anybody's guess.
"The Postal Service is in a multi-year process of conducting research and testing as a part of our efforts to operate a future class of delivery vehicles that will incorporate new technology to accommodate a diverse mail mix, enhance safety, improve service, reduce emissions and produce operational savings," a USPS spokeswoman said.
The agency completed testing in March on New Generation Delivery Vehicle prototypes from five potential suppliers, and it expects to award the contract for vehicle production later this year, according to the spokeswoman.
USPS cannot comment on the suppliers or on any potential subcontractors, including tire makers, she said. Among those known to have submitted prototypes for testing are AM General L.L.C., Oshkosh Corp. and Mahindra Automotive North America.
Most of the prototypes competing for the NGDV contract are larger than the ubiquitous "Long Life Vehicles" that USPS has been using for nearly 30 years, outfitted with tires larger than the 14- and 15-inch rim diameter tires used now.