Canadian postal service chooses Ford Transit Connect to replace fleet

Ford announced that it has secured a crucial contract with the Canada Post that will replace its aging fleet of postal service delivery vehicles. Ford won the contract after an open request for proposal process.

The United States Postal Service operates the largest civilian vehicle fleet in the world with 260,000 vehicles - but for now, Ford will have to make due with securing a contract to provide delivery vehicles for Canada's mail delivery service, Canada Post.

Ford says Canada Post has ordered 1,175 Ford Transit Connect vans for the first year, making it the largest Transit Connect fleet sale in Canada to date.

"At Ford we are dedicated to delivering quality, safe and fuel efficient vehicles to Canadian businesses - and the Ford Transit Connect delivers on all fronts," said David Mondragon, president and CEO, Ford of Canada. "The versatility of the vehicle will allow employees to work more efficiently, and the fuel economy delivered by the Transit Connect will help bring Canada Post one step closer to achieving important environmental goals."

The connection between the Canada Post and the USPS

Currently both the USPS and Canada Post traditionally utilize the Grumman LLV, or Long Life Vehicle. The vehicle was originally designed in conjunction with General Motors, and features technology once found in the Chevy S-10 small pickup. The Grumman LLV is rated at 16 city, and 18 highway miles per gallon, compared to the Ford Transit Connect's 22 city, 26 highway rating.

Due to the discontinuation of the S-10 by GM, the USPS has also begun using a vehicle known as the Ford FFV, or Flexible Fuel Vehicle. The vehicle resembles the LLV, but in slightly larger dimensions. The FFV is actually produced by Utilimaster, limiting any profit Ford might be making from its sale. A switch to the Transit Connect would certainly help Ford on many fronts, ranging from increased economies of scale for the Transit Connect, to increased exposure through widespread use of a highly visible vehicle with Ford branding.

Why the switch to the Transit Connect makes sense, and cents for postal carriers

Given the extensive amount of miles covered by the postal service, fuel economy is a top priority. The USPS estimates that for each penny increase in the price per gallon of fuel, the USPS will spend an additional $8 million annually. A bump from the current average of 17 mpg to 23.5 mpg [Transit Connect] would mean a difference of hundreds of millions of dollars to the USPS each year.

"Last year we spent $1.7 billion dollars for gasoline and diesel. It is gonna go up by about $600 million dollars this year, so this fuel increase has really put some pressure on us," said Pat Donahoe, a USPS deputy postmaster general to ABC News.

Soon, Ford will also offer its Transit Connect in a battery-electric form, known as the Transit connect BEV. The Transit BEV operates purely on electricity, and offers a range varying from 60 to 100 miles, depending on the model. Although not likely capable of being used fleet-wide, the Transit BEV would likely still be a viable optional for many routes, and would provide for substantial fuel savings for the USPS.

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