Discussion in 'Auto News & Rumors' started by patfromigh, Feb 13, 2015.
Good new info - but they don't make those Exploders more.
Thus circling back to the Request For Proposal very nearly crying out for GM and/or their partner to supply what USPS say they need.
The USPS will not alter their long-established delivery procedures, which would be required when adopting any one of the currently available platforms (chassis/body by one supplier or the Grumman-GM type of solution).
If nothing more - and I'm sure they hark back to their motion studies and ergonomic audits - they don't want the certain impact on productivity by softening their requirements to allow a swinging hinged door, and a 90-degree knee bend driving position. (It appears the RHD is the easiest part of the puzzle).
Think of how many times they open the door, how many times they must climb into driving position only to get out again, then lean, reach, lift flat mail or parcel, twist, turn, walk and on an on throughout their delivery route. Add weather and traffic and parking conditions multiplied 180,000 times and the result is a worker injury monetary claim potentially multiple times the size of the expected value of the contract award.
Ya done good.
Must've been someone else posting under my name ...
IMHO a HD version of the Toyota Prius would qualify if the 'US owned' rule wasn't in place. Those sedans are actually quite stout and; being for USPS service, they have no need to a top end above 75 MPH.
"US owned" is not a rule. I don't know if "Buy American" rules apply for this purchase, that is a certain percentage of domestic parts assembled in the USA. I have seen photos of the Isuzu Reach walk-in van in USPS livery.
There was an RFI for replacement chassis with drivetrain last fall. This was for replacement using the original LLV bodies. Toyota would have had a chance to prove themselves then.
The more I see this post, the more it becomes apparent that Grumman should have the inside track. They do build lots of aluminum vehicles already.
Grumman does NOT EXIST anymore.
For the Doblo, Fiat and Micro-Vett developed and tested an all electric version in Europe (which, obviously, is NOT the ProMaster City as we know that product); so it's conceivable one can consider that experience a proof of concept for FCA to field an effective electric vehicle for that scope of operations (which, I'm assuming, would fit as a sub-set of the scope anticipated in the Request For Proposal publicized by the USPS). Through FCA, I'm assuming, it would be considered a Domestic product - even though the principal manufacturing source is in Turkey - I'm also assuming they could install the Electric running gear here during their prepping process for sale in the USA, and thus qualify, along with FCA's USA mailing address. But I'm unsure of whether there has been anything beyond that demonstration project ... in other words, they have it on paper and they built it and put it on the road for a 60-day test. Three power sources were developed. See this Wikipedia thing (I know ... I know; it's Wikipedia - I use it because of Open Source and that it's freely available to anyone, nothing more ) :
A RFI is non-binding. An RFP could be or not. An RFQ is.
Thanks Bob. That clarifies things. The USPS states the rolling chassis replacement program "is still under consideration." It is not part of the NGDV program.
There have been other posts on this thread wondering about electric powered postal vans. The USPS is very cautious about vaporware after the Ford-Azure Dynamics meltdown. The venture between them was to build Transit Connect EVs for various customers including Canada Post. Only 500 electric vans were built before Azure Dynamics went bankrupt. Since the EV contracts were with Azure Dynamics and not Ford, Ford walked while Azure ceased to exist, and the customers (most of them municipal fleets) were left holding the bag. This isn't the first time for Ford either. The GAO report I mentioned in an earlier post says a different Ford EV project with the USPS ended up with Ford replacing the problematic electric postal vehicles with off the shelf, gasoline fueled, Ford minivans.
This is strictly my opinion from reading between the lines. The USPS buyers put a lot of weight behind a company's track record when they consider bids.
FCA is just starting over. The absence from the compact car segment, followed by a less than ideal product from Daimler influence, leaves the Dart with a long uphill climb towards credibility. It is the same situation, only worse for the van segment. If the Promaster gains a positive track record, things will come its way.
Zenith Motors (who build an electric van based on the Ram PM) will be watched very closely by municipal fleet buyers. I hope they do well.
I am familiar with Zenith. Good job for what they are. That is why i say that GM is in the "lead" for consideration. All the parts exist and production for the prototype can happen in the timeframe for follow on and pilots. Fiat has no chance without blowing the specs.
And the USPS aint gonna allow that.
Great input, Pat. Thanks! This company is new to me, and I'm glad FCA/Ram products are beginning to find a place in the alternate markets.
I also suspect that their experience with Chrysler minivans will be part of their thought process...for better or worse.
Mr. Sheaves, what would it take for FCA/Ram to engineer a Walk-In variant of the Ducato/ProMaster so that they can be a player in the future for this type of contract/customer - not necessarily to respond to this public notice ?
(I can see that for this USPS contract this time round, FCA is straight-up out of the running )
Would Ram have to pursue a ground-up new package?
Or could there be modifications made to the existing Ducato/ProMaster to accommodate Walk-In features?
I'm not an engineer. For a walk-in modification it would seem driver access, as well as access to the load area would each have to be re-positioned or simply re-thought. But that's my layman's guess.
Also, if there were a third-party body maker who would consider a Promaster rolling chassis, what time-frame would be required to present a viable solution to the market?
I am not sure how detailed you want this? A little help there please?
General terms - nothing I can do with the detail; others might benefit, but I don't mean to bog you or anyone down. Yet, it would be good to hear how close or how far away from being able to respond to non-military spec, marketplace opportunities FCA is. This USPS public notice is more or less opportune to see what sort ability FCA/Ram has to either be directly responsive to these cases which occur from time to time, or be able to arrange through a third-party to offer a viable finished product.
"Grumman does not exist anymore"? ever heard of Northrup Grumman, and all those UAV's flying around?
The division was "Grumman OLSEN" which went bankrupt at the end of the LLV program and was sold off to Morgan.
The aircraft division was sold to Lockheed just before THEY went bankrupt-BEFORE any UAV's came to be.
Ok.i am going to have to wait until i get back to the hotel tonight before i reply. It will take a while.