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The United States Postal Service (USPS) has revealed its new mail truck after a years-long competition. The new truck will be built by Wisconsin-based defense contractor Oshkosh and can be fitted with both gasoline and electric drivetrains. But it won’t hit the road until 2023.

Oshkosh winning the contract is a potentially major blow to commercial electric vehicle startup Workhorse, which was one of the three remaining bidders.

The company’s stock price plummeted following the announcement, and trading was halted multiple times.

The USPS has been looking to replace its existing mail trucks for years now, and it started taking solicitations for new designs back in 2015. The need for new trucks is urgent. The ones currently on the road are not only woefully out of date — they don’t even have air conditioning — but they’re a major fire risk.

The switchover was supposed to start happening in 2018, but the program experienced multiple setbacks. The USPS repeatedly extended deadlines in the early going at the request of the bidding manufacturers, and then when they finally delivered the first prototypes, many of them were faulty, according to an Inspector-General report released last August. The program was hit with further delays once the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

More cargo space, air conditioning, and hopefully fewer fires

The new truck has more cargo space, better ergonomics, and, yes, air conditioning. It’s also dotted with cameras that give a 360-degree view, helping power a front- and rear-collision avoidance system with visual and audio warnings as well as automatic braking. The big front windshield and low hood should also give drivers a much better view of the road and pedestrians or cyclists, which is a big improvement for the safety of people outside the vehicle.

Oshkosh still has to finalize the design of the mail truck, which is part of the reason for the two-year wait. The defense contractor is getting a $482 million investment up front and is promising to make between 50,000 to 165,000 of the trucks over 10 years. Oshkosh had been working with Ford during the bidding process, but it’s unclear whether Ford was still involved in the final product.

Grid View

The USPS and Oshkosh don’t say exactly how many of the trucks will be gas-powered and how many will be electric, just that the plan is to make both and that the vehicles will be designed in a way so that the powertrains can be switched to electric over time. The USPS says the gas engines will be “fuel efficient low-emission” but did not specify what it means by those terms.

President Biden said in January that he wants to replace the entire government fleet to electric drivetrains, though that won’t be possible without the USPS, which accounts for about a third of those vehicles.

“It’s disappointing that today’s announcement does not immediately commit to electrifying one of our nation’s largest vehicle fleets,” Robbie Diamond, the CEO of nonprofit Securing America’s Future Energy, said in a statement. “This contract is a golden opportunity to stimulate the domestic EV market and supply chain, and a commitment to electrifying the [postal fleet] would provide a clear incentive for further domestic EV industry development along the entire supply chain, from minerals to markets.”

Workhorse was the last remaining bidder pitching a fully electric vehicle, and it put a lot of effort into surviving as a business just to make it to the end of this process. The company sold off a small drone division, ostensibly spun out a new startup in Lordstown Motors to make an electric pickup truck without Workhorse’s baggage, and it even paid $7 million to buy out its original partner in the bid, trucking manufacturer VT Hackney. Workhorse even tailored the fine print of a recent loan in such a way that it would pay less interest if it won the USPS contract.

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Tags: defense contractor electric vehicle air conditioning the trucks contract the new truck supply chain to electric many the program cargo space the vehicle the program the bidding

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Sadiq Khan Demands Mail-in Voting for London Mayoral Election

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has called for the expansion of postal voting in the upcoming local elections, claiming that the “disproportionate” effect of the Chinese coronavirus on ethnic minorities and the elderly will reduce voter turnout.

Mr Khan has been serving as the unelected Mayor of London for nearly a whole extra year after the regular elections were cancelled in March of 2020 during the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter to Constitution Minister Chloe Smith, Khan demanded that the government fund the distribution of postal voting forms to every household in the areas having elections this May.

“I am still concerned at the potential for low voter turnout, given the circumstances under which the elections will be held,” the mayor wrote, per The Independent.

“We know that the virus disproportionately affects Bame people, as well as older and vulnerable people, and we must ensure that they are similarly not disproportionately affected when it comes to being able to cast their vote.

“I welcome the government’s move to make it easier to vote by proxy and the publication of the Election Delivery Plan, but I urge you to go further.

“I am therefore calling on you to launch a widespread public awareness campaign on postal vote registration [and] make further funding available to local authorities to send postal vote registration forms to every household.”

Mr Khan claimed that the issue of postal voting is not a “party political issue” but is rather about maximising “participation in our democracy”.

Sadiq Khan Demands Minorities Get Preferential Access to Coronavirus Vaccines

— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 19, 2020

The Conservative government under Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced this month that it would be introducing a voter ID requirement in elections starting from 2023.

The Electoral Integrity Bill will also reportedly introduce measures to prevent abuse of the postal and proxy voting systems. However, the government has yet to explain what rules will be set in place to prevent abuse.

Mail-in voting was introduced in the United Kingdom in 2001 under former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair and has since been dogged by instances of voter fraud.

In 2005, for example, Labour councillors Shafaq Ahmed, Shah Jahan, Ayaz Khan, Mohammed Islam, Muhammed Afzal, and Mohammed Kazi were all found guilty of electoral fraud after it was found that they had set up a  “vote-forging factory” in Birmingham, bolstering their election changes with fake postal ballots.

In another notable example, the supporters of Britain’s first directly-elected Muslim mayor, Luftur Rahman, were accused of “buying votes with public money, and committing postal vote fraud on an industrial scale.”

A forensic handwriting expert found that “one quarter” of sampled postal ballots “appeared, in each case, to be written in the same ink”.

Other examples of voter fraud in the postal system have also been recorded in Tower Hamlets and Bradford.

The London Mayor election will be held on May 6th.

Election Fraud: Is Britain Finally Waking Up To The Disaster Of Multiculturalism?

— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 12, 2016

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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