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USPS Ram Vans Add Capability, Durability

February 2016, by Kat Sandoval - Also by this author

Ram Commercial will produce and customize 9,113 MY-2016 ProMaster 2500 cargo vans for USPS. Photo courtesy of USPS. 
Ram Commercial will produce and customize 9,113 MY-2016 ProMaster 2500 cargo vans for USPS. Photo courtesy of USPS.

As one of the largest vehicle fleets in the nation, the United States Postal Service (USPS) needs its vehicles to go the distance.

To ensure its fleet is in optimal shape, the USPS has decided to begin replacing its aging minivans. Following a selection process, Ram Commercial was selected to provide the postal fleet with 9,113 ProMaster 2500 cargo vans.

This acquisition will allow the USPS to update its vehicle fleet, while aiding the postal fleet in its daily operational needs.

Meeting the USPS' Needs

Ram ProMaster 2500 cargo van in the efforts to revitalize its fleet, while keeping safety and cost in mind.

“The Postal Service was in need of a vehicle to replace aging minivans,” said Philip Knoll, fleet manager, USPS. “A key emphasis was also placed on minimizing operating costs and improving operator safety.”
Following the demand and schedule of the USPS’ vehicle fleet, the cargo vans will be on the road for a minimum of eight hours, facilitating stop-and-go deliveries and retrievals of packages, and operating in all types of weather conditions.

“Further specifications for replacement vehicles include an increased cubic capacity to accommodate a changing mail mix, as well as improvements for operator efficiency and ergonomic benefits,” Knoll said. “This included a higher roof and better access to the rear cargo area.”

The cargo vans will also need to be customized to accommodate the fleet’s specific needs, such as form holders and mail trays. The vans will be the USPS’ signature white body color, with red and blue stripes.
Once they have been customized to the postal fleet’s specifications, the vans will then be deployed to multiple locations across the country.

“We are honored that the USPS chose the Ram ProMaster to begin revitalizing its vehicle fleet,” said Jeffrey Kommor, President – U.S. Sales Operations, Fleet and Small Business Sales, FCA US.

Choosing the ProMaster

The 2016 Ram ProMaster 2500 cargo van features a gasoline-fueled 3.6L Pentastar V-6 engine producing 280 hp and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, which has been upgraded to accommodate the van’s cargo-hauling capability. The unibody system under the cab enables the ProMaster’s exclusive front-wheel-drive system, according to Ram.

“Reliability, durability, ease of use, and lower acquisition and operating costs are hallmarks of the Ram ProMaster,” said Bob Hegbloom, president and CEO of the Ram Brand - FCA US.

The cargo van is also available in more than 14 configurations and to help reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO), the van has an oil change interval of up to 18,500 miles. The van comes equipped with an oil-level sensor to help drivers and fleet managers monitor when an oil change may be needed.

The ProMaster cabin is fitted with accomodations to hold down cargo on the floor, according to the automaker. This is standard to the van.

The cargo van also offers more than 35 active and passive safety and security features, which include ParkView and ParkSense. Both features assist the driver as he or she either backs up or parks, and are especially beneficial in the urban environments that the postal fleet navigates on a daily basis.

Both Ram and the USPS noted that this vehicle acquisition differs from the USPS’ Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) acquisition process, its ongoing mission to replace its right-hand drive fleet of long life vehicles (LLVs).

The USPS currently operates a fleet of approximately 215,000 vehicles, of which 163,000 are LLVs.

According to Knoll, the USPS is also working on retrofitting the cargo vans to accommodate a charging dock. This dock would allow the operator to charge the Dolphin 99EX, the USPS’ mobile delivery device scanners.

“The Postal Service has a range of delivery vehicles — including vans — to fit the needs of our day-to-day operations,” Knoll said. “This is the largest purchase the organization has made of new vehicles in several years. We are looking forward to our employees taking advantage of new technologies that will improve their driving and delivery experiences.”

Production of the ProMaster cargo vans began in November 2015 and delivery is expected to be completed by September 2016.

“The timely delivery of mail and packages is such a mission-critical service, and we feel the highly-customizable ProMaster is the perfect van to meet the specific needs and daily challenges of the USPS,” said Kommor.

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