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Mahindra & AM General Among Six Automakers Selected to Supply Mail Carrier Prototypes to USPS

Mahindra & AM General Among Six Automakers Selected to Supply Mail Carrier Prototypes to USPS

U.S. Postal Service looks to update its mail delivery fleet

The U.S. Postal Service has selected six companies as finalists to build prototypes for a next-generation mail delivery vehicle. Hybrid drivetrain and new-age technologies are among the top priorities for the new vehicle. The six companies were awarded contracts worth a total of $37.4 million to produce 50 prototypes. This is only the latest development in the USPS’ quest to an updated fleet, which started in earnest in January 2015.

The new vehicle, dubbed the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle, or NGDV, will replace the long-standing Grumman LLV, the now iconic postal delivery truck that’s been in service since 1987. Despite production having ended in 1994, roughly 160,000 LLVs, which fittingly stands for the Long Life Vehicle, are still in service.

The six companies fighting for the contract award include AM General, Karsan, Mahindra, Oshkosh, Utilimaster, and VT Hackney. A few of those names likely register with most TopSpeed readers. AM General built the Humvee for the U.S. Military and the Hummer H1 for General Motors. Likewise, Oshkosh currently builds military vehicles, including the MRAP. Mahindra, an India based company, builds everything from pickup trucks to tractors and ATVs.

Utilimaster and VT Hackney build everything from fire trucks and box van enclosures to beverage and food trucks. Karsan, a Turkish company, builds vehicles like city busses.

Each company will have roughly a year to complete the project. Six months of USPS testing will commence after that in various conditions, climates, topography, and population centers. Each vehicle prototype will be evaluated for the operational needs of mail delivery.

While absolutely no information is available about each company’s prototypes, we expect to see a widespread use of hybrid or alternative fuel usage, including Compressed Natural Gas, propane, and even perhaps fuel cell technology. While coming at a higher buy-in price, these fuel-saving powertrains could realize huge long-term money savings when implemented over a large fleet for years to come.

Continue reading for more information.

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Track Day With A Hummer H1? Watch How It's Done

Track Day With A Hummer H1? Watch How It’s Done

It’s certainly not every day you hear about someone taking a SUV to a racetrack. It’s even more rare to hear about someone doing that with a Hummer H1. Well, our favorite ex-Ferrari owner turned Hummer H1 reviewer has done just that – taken his military machine to the New Jersey Motorsports Park.

You may recall Doug DeMuro’s video showcasing his new Hummer H1 and its ability to climb atop and crush a ratty old Chrysler PT Cruiser. Well, the H1 might be good at crushing objects, but it’s definitely not good at crushing lap times.

As the video shows, the Hummer’s 350-cubic-inch Chevy small-block V-8 has a hard time moving the vehicle’s 7,000 pounds. In fact, the fasted speed Doug managed to achieve was a laughable 65 mph – on the back straight. Surprisingly, the H1 did surprisingly well with brake fade and cornering. Doug attributes both to the sheer lack of speed. The need for brakes was almost absent while the wide stance of the H1 kept body roll to a minimum.

Nevertheless, the H1 is no track toy. Only five laps in, the coolant expansion tank began vomiting on the windshield in protest of the abuse. Thankfully nothing was broken, nobody got hurt, and everyone seemed to have a good time.

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Doug DeMuro Reminds Us Why The Hummer H1 is Awesome: Video

Doug DeMuro Reminds Us Why The Hummer H1 is Awesome: Video

I’ve talked about Doug DeMuro and his crazy yellow Hummer H1 here before, with his stunt of running over a Chrysler PT Cruiser. But now our favorite ex-Ferrari owner is giving a more in-depth look at his new whip. And sadly, it kind of kills the allure of the H1, as well as giving views a realization of just how big modern pickup trucks and SUVs have become.

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Doug DeMuro Reminds Us Why The Hummer H1 is Awesome: Video

Doug DeMuro Reminds Us Why The Hummer H1 is Awesome: Video

I’ve talked about Doug DeMuro and his crazy yellow Hummer H1 here before, with his stunt of running over a Chrysler PT Cruiser. But now our favorite ex-Ferrari owner is giving a more in-depth look at his new whip. And sadly, it kind of kills the allure of the H1, as well as giving views a realization of just how big modern pickup trucks and SUVs have become.

Doug starts off pointing out his H1 came fitted with the wimpiest engine choice available: the 5.7-liter V-8 sourced from Chevrolet. Now while I’d normally become joyfully giddy over the inclusion of a small-block Chevy in any vehicle, this detuned, ho-hum 350 barely puts enough horsepower to the ground to get the quasi-military vehicle moving. The sprint to 60 – heck, even 40 mph – is more like the buffet line at the Golden Corral on Bingo night: it moves, but it’s certainly not quick.

After making me vicariously long for some much-needed speed parts, Doug dispels the myth that H1’s are larger than anything on the road. Parked to a previous-generation Chevy Silverado, the H1 looks downright small – almost looking like a kit car. Once inside, things get even worse. The tiny seats and limited legroom make the H1 a rather dismal place to sit. The cargo hold isn’t much better, not holding anything more than the average crossover.

Break my heart if you must, Mr. DeMuro, but I still long to wheel the H1 down some deserted trail.

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