Oshkosh Defense, which makes machines of war, won the bidding process for the next USPS mail truck in February, beating out the startup Workhorse, which has since filed a legal challenge. Oshkosh is still barreling ahead.
It announced Tuesday that it would build the new mail trucks in Spartanburg, South Carolina, near where BMW has a giant facility and a region of the state that has seen growth and prosperity along with that, though not without some complications. Oshkosh said that it would repurpose an existing warehouse there to make the truck, and it “expected” to hire over 1,000 people.
“Upstate South Carolina has a skilled workforce and a proven history in advanced automotive manufacturing—it’s the perfect place to produce the NGDV,” John Bryant, Executive Vice President, Oshkosh Corporation and President, Oshkosh Defense, said in a news release, using the acronym for the truck’s name, the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle.
Just how many new mail trucks will be produced and what kind is still an open question, as Oshkosh said that its contract is for between 50,000 and 165,000 vehicles, with some of those electric and maybe the majority of them, likely depending on if the United States Postal Service gets funding to go electric from Congress. The USPS had originally said that only ten percent of the new trucks will be electric.
Oshkosh said Tuesday that production of the new mail truck is expected to start in the summer of 2023, and if all goes as planned should be another boost to what locally is referred to as the Upstate, the westernmost part of South Carolina. That South Carolina is also a right-to-work state — kneecapping unions before they can even begin — I’m sure played no small part in Oshkosh’s decision, not unlike Volvo’s before it. But that’s capitalism.