AM General Selected by Postal Service for NGDV Prototype Trials
Trial Moves One Step Closer to Final Candidate Selection
AM General is best known among SUV enthusiasts at the maker of the HMMWV (Humvee) military off-road vehicle and the civilian version Hummer H1, as well as manufacturing of the GMT800-based Hummer H2. Lately, the company has become a contract manufacturer for the Mercedes-Benz R-Class for export to China, as well as the manufacturer of the wheelchair-accessible MV-1. Today, the company announced it was one of the companies selected to build a run of pilot prototypes for the next-generation of delivery vehicles (NGDV) for the U.S. Postal Service. The last all-new postal vehicle was the Grumman LLV, which first debuted in 1987. The last of the LLVs rolled off the line in 1994, meaning the USPS has limped along with a 22 year-old fleet over the last two decades.
Since the LLV was designed, there have been major changes to the mail and parcel delivery industry, with the advent of online retailers such as Amazon increasing the number of parcel deliveries as opposed to first-class letter delivery. This has increased the need for cargo capacity in a future vehicle. In addition, although powered by a four-cylinder engine, field studies have shown the LLV only achieves about 10 mpg in real-world use, making fuel economy another high priority in the next-generation vehicle.
The official directive given by the postal service includes a lightweight, fuel-efficient platform, an advanced powertrain with a zero emissions option, next-generation safety systems, a reduced maintenance schedule, and 20-plus year body durability. The prototypes provided to the USPS by AM General will be subjected to an 18-month field trial to test durability and real-world functionality. Final selection of the future vehicle replacement award will be determined after the trial period.
Source: AM General