Ohio lawmakers want electric vehicle deal for USPS stopped, looking for ‘inappropriate political influence’

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Oshkosh Defense has been around since 1917

LORDSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Congressman Tim Ryan and Senator Sherrod Brown want President Biden to halt a federal postal truck contract. They want to know if “inappropriate political influence” was involved.

They claim the postmaster general is saying only 10% of the fleet will be electric, which they say goes against President Biden’s public statements to transform the federal fleet to electric.

The Workhorse Group, with its ties to Lordstown Motors, was passed over for Oshkosh Defense, of Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Why them and not Lordstown Motors? Detroit-based auto analyst John McElroy said first and foremost that Oshkosh defense is a proven company with an extensive track record, and Lordstown Motors is a start-up.

Oshkosh Defense has been around since 1917, and John McElroy says it was simply a matter of the postal service going with a proven company.

“Lordstown/Workhorse, sorry, they are a startup. There is no track record. Whereas with Oshkosh, it’s been around forever, makes all kinds of military vehicles. They are very familiar with working with government and visa versa,” McElroy said.

Oshkosh Defense is one of the leading suppliers of military vehicles to the Army and Marines. It also makes large trucks used for emergency purposes at airports.

“Their trucks have been shipped to every theater of war the United States has been involved in. They know what they’re doing,” McElroy said.

McElroy said the United States Postal Service is expecting durability and longevity.

“When it keeps a truck, man, they keep them forever. The first ones they’re running now I think were built in the early 1980s,” McElroy said. “They don’t want just some flash in the pan, here. They want something that’s going to last and be around, and that would dictate going with a proven company.”

Another drawback, McElroy says, is the hub motor system being used in the Lordstown Motors Endurance pickup.

“Really cool idea, really cool technology, completely unproven,” McElroy said.

McElroy has heard President Biden say he wants to convert all federal vehicles to electric, but some of the new postal trucks will still run on gasoline power engines because the United States is not yet ready for all-electric for two reasons.

“I think the biggest one is charging stations and techs who are qualified to be able to work on these vehicles. That of it is just not in place right now,” McElroy said.

Altogether, this is why Oshkosh Defense was picked over the Workhorse/Lordstown Motors group.

“When you add all these things together, I think the post office said let’s go with something we know we can trust,” McElroy said.

McElroy said he’s not down on Lordstown Motors. He realizes it is still in the testing phase. He just didn’t think it was the right fit for the postal service, right now.

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