The US Postal Service Unveils Controversial New Van Design
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) unveiled the design for its new delivery vehicle at a press conference on Tuesday to a mixed response.
As a report by Gizmodo explains, USPS awarded a $482 million contract to Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Defense to work on a new fleet of vehicles set to hit the streets in 2023.
With the design now released to the public, the reaction has been a mixed bag with some social media users comparing the vehicle to a clown car.
Either way, the so-called Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) is getting attention. We wouldn't even bet strong money against the design being aimed specifically at garnering some of that coveted social media mindshare much in the same fashion as Tesla's Cybertruck.
USPS's divisive design change
As Car and Driver magazine points out, the design for USPS delivery vehicles hasn't been changed since 1994. Some aren't happy with the change, as responses to Politico’s transportation reporter Sam Mintz tweet about the new design attests.
This is the new next-gen USPS delivery vehicle coming to your neighborhood by 2023 pic.twitter.com/WkEd3VkHkU— Sam Mintz (@samjmintz) February 23, 2021
New York Times tech reported Mike Isaac replied with a concise "looks like shit."
Others argued the new design was a "waste of money" and that USPS should be buying vehicles from automakers and customizing them rather than having a vehicle built from scratch. Many also took the opportunity to complain about ongoing mail delays.
Some pointed out the fact that we don't know whether the first batch of these delivery vehicles will be electric or ICE — a USPS statement only says "the vehicles will be equipped with either fuel-efficient internal combustion engines or battery-electric powertrains."
The Next Generation Delivery Vehicle was also inevitably compared to cartoon delivery vehicles, including a car from the Simpsons.
Makes me think of this "low poly" illustration style. pic.twitter.com/tkFoLmDfRw— GKT (@garethkthomas) February 23, 2021
In their statement, USPS says the new vehicles will include advanced tech like 360-degree cameras as well as a rear-collision avoidance system that includes automatic braking.
USPS Chief Executive Officer Louis DeJoy disagrees with all the disparaging comments, of course. He says "the NGDV program expands our capacity for handling more package volume and supports our carriers with cleaner and more efficient technologies, more amenities, and greater comfort and security as they deliver every day on behalf of the American people."
The design has yet to be finalized, so the U.S. Postal Service could take the lead of the people that made the recent 'Sonic the Hedgehog' movie and completely redesign the vehicular protagonist of their delivery routes. At least it's not as controversial a design choice as that missile the U.S. once used to deliver mail.