Almost all USPS Postal Fleets will recieve an allocation of Mercedes Metris vans through 2022, replacing aging Grumann LLVs.
The USPS has known for years how old their Grumann LLVs are getting. According to RuralInfo.net, in alignment with previous USPS statements to use Commercial-off-the-shelf right-hand drive vehicles as a temporary stopgap to keep their fleets afloat, the USPS will purchase over 17,300 Mercedes Metris Vans and over 7,100 Dodge ProMasters to replace LLVs, Chevrolet Uplanders, and Dodge Caravans.
A second contract gives the USPS a purchase option to buy 12,600 more Metris vans to accommodate EMA Route Conversions. If the second contract goes through fulfillment, that’s a possible 30,608 Mercedes Metris Vans delivering mail by 2022.
According to David Mills, Chief Executive of the USPS,
“The Postal Service has determined that the Mercedes Metris has proven to be an effective delivery vehicle that will enhance the Postal Service’s fleet. Two contracts have been awarded by the Postal Servce to purchase and deploy additional Metris COTS right hand drive vehicles.“
Check out their post linked here and here’s a gallery of images of a Metris Van that will be making the rounds of your local neighborhood soon.
Keen eyes will notice Mercedes badges swapped out for USPS-spec logos.
The Metris will not replace the next gen LLV
According to the USPS there are approximately 163,000 LLVs (as opposed to the oft quoted 140,000) still in use today, part of a larger fleet of 200,000 delivery vehicles.
This allotment of Metris vans only represents a small, but sizeable 10 percent of the entire postal route fleet meant to replace the LLV.
The USPS still has plans to replace the large majority of LLVs with a next-gen vehicle, a contract worth over $6.3 Billion to whoever wins it. Finalists from AM General, VT Hackney, Mahindra, Karsan, and Oshkosh/Ford are in the running with a winner yet to be announced.
According to Trucks.com, while that final decision was supposed to be made earlier this year in March, that’s been pushed back to mid-July.
Tail of the tape- LLV vs. Metris
Part of the fun blogging about the LLV is quoting how old this vehicle is, it’s literally a piece of rolling history. When the first LLV hit the road, Ronald Reagan was president. The Iron Duke engine was built by the Pontiac Motor Division, a new defunct arm of General Motors.
The Metris will be more powerful, get better MPG, will be a more enjoyable delivery vehicle, and will be a marked improvement than the aging LLVs on the road today.
The LLV packs a four-cylinder iron engine with about 90 HP and 125 lb-ft. Weighing in at around 3,000 pounds, these boxes achieved an OK 17 MPG with some LLVs today making around 10 MPG. LLVs can carry up to 1,000 pounds cargo.
According to the embedded Facebook post the Metris will pack gas 2.0L turbocharged Mercedes engines. Another post on APWU.org mentions a DEF tank so I’m assuming these Metris Vans will have a 2.0T Diesel Engine. If so, expect around 130 HP and a work-horse winning 230 lb-ft. MPG hovers around 20 City/24 Highway. With a more capable chassis, the Metris Cargo Van can haul upwards of 2,425 pounds cargo. That’s more than twice an LLV.
Check out this great video on the Metris via TFL Truck below.
Also, Metris Vans will have Air Conditioning, a marked improvement over a stationary fan that only blows scorching air in the middle of the Summer. The lack of AC is not only bothersome, it’s downright dangerous. One USPS carrier died after delivering mail in 117 degree heat.
Metris already run through the wringer.
According to APWU.org and 21cpw.com, Qualified Postal Union reps have already submitted their concerns about the Metris, mainly about visibility and not being able to place the front end with USPS offering their response shortly after.
I am not an expert on LLVs or postal carrier life but, as a low-key van enthusiast and a frequent customer of the USPS, I’m excited to see just how well the Metris performs in real-world conditions.
With European style delivery vans already part of Amazons delivery fleet and already economical replacements for ambulances, food delivery vehicles, small companies, and as City vehicles, this further solidifies the front-engine, front-wheel drive/AWD van as a practical solution to our delivery needs.
And earlier this year, Merceds announced an all-electric Metris with over 260 miles of range and comparable power to their Diesel and Gas variants. Not only is the Metris more fuel efficient than the LLV, some can even be swapped out for all-electric variants with minor charging infrastructure changes.
For far too long our nation’s carriers have suffered with Grummans. They deserve power, A/C, and something made this century
As mentioned, these Metris Vans won’t replace LLVs but I imagine, if they perform just as good as LLVs, why not order more after 2022?