Workhorse Group files lawsuit over USPS delivery truck contract
By Bill McAllister, Washington Correspondent
A hint of how bitter the legal fight over the United States Postal Service’s contract for its new next generation mail delivery trucks has become appeared in the Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer June 29 when the paper disclosed details of a lawsuit Workhorse Group Inc. of Cincinnati, Ohio, has filed over the contract that was awarded to Oshkosh Defense of Oshkosh, Wis.
The newspaper published a redacted copy of a previously sealed lawsuit Workhorse filed June 16 against the USPS in the U.S. Court of Claims in Washington, D.C., asking the court to overturn the award.
At stake is a 10-year contract Workhorse said was valued at $3.1 billion, one of the largest contracts the USPS has ever issued.
The $3.1 billion is the value Workhorse put on the truck contract alone. The $6 billion figure Linn’s has reported previously is an estimate of other added costs, such as building a new truck plant and contracts with other firms for components.
There is also the huge cost of building electric charging stations at post offices across the country. Democratic lawmakers in Congress have been talking about giving the USPS $8 billion for the trucks and the needed infrastructure to manufacture them.
The Oshkosh Defense contract is an agreement for the company to produce a delivery fleet of 165,000 trucks.
The 59-page lawsuit alleges that the Postal Service’s secretive evaluation process was flawed from the outset because the agency “put its thumb on the scale” against Workhorse.
The lawsuit alleged that the truck Oshkosh Defense used in prototype testing is not the same vehicle that it is now planning to produce at a South Carolina plant.
The suit says that Workhorse — not Oshkosh Defense — has a record of producing electric-powered vehicles.
The suit also claims that the Postal Service’s initial payment of $482 million to Oshkosh Defense is allowing the firm to complete design work it should have completed earlier.
“Workhorse’s vehicle, by contrast, is already electric and production ready,” the suit says.
Postal officials did not comment on the lawsuit but have said the agency expects the new trucks will be deployed in 2023.
“While bid protests are a normal part of the government contracting process, we do not comment on such proceedings,” an Oshkosh Defense spokeswoman said.
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