Get ready for a new USPS mail truck, maybe from a company you don't know

It might have an electric or hybrids powertrain, too.

The USPS has been looking for an updated version, potentially electric, of its longstanding mail delivery trucks – the Grumman LLVfor years now. The current quest (started in January 2015) is for something called the "Next Generation Delivery Vehicle" (NGDV), and things are finally moving on that front. The USPS has announced the six "prime suppliers" that have been awarded contracts worth a total of $37.4 million and will, "produce 50 prototype vehicles as part of the next phase of the NGDV acquisition process." The finalists include AM General, Oshkosh, Utilimaster, VT Hackney, Karsan, and Mahindra.

Who are these companies? Well, Mahindra might be familiar to readers as the company behind the all-electric GenZe scooter or the e2o electric car. AM General is the car behind the Hummer/Humvee, and says that it, "will build a series of prototype vehicles for testing by the USPS that seek to provide fuel efficiency and zero emission capability." Oshkosh is a specialty-truck manufacturer based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. VT Hackney has been making vocational vehicle bodies since 1946, and will build an NGDV prototype body while its partner, Workhorse Group, will provide the chassis and powertrain. Utilimaster builds walk-in vans. And, finally, Karsan is a Turkish commercial vehicle manufacturer.

At this point, technical details of the upcoming NGDVs are nonexistent, but we will learn more as the process moves forward. The six companies have about a year to "develop and produce" their prototypes. All the USPS will say for now is that, "Half of the [50] prototypes will feature hybrid and new technologies, including alternative fuel capabilities. The prototypes will represent a variety of vehicle sizes and drive configurations, in addition to advanced powertrains and a range of hybrid technologies."

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