U.S. Postal Service Reveals Mail Truck Makeover That Sparks Debate: Sleek or 'Ugly Duckling'?

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Rachel DeSantis
·3 min read
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USPS

For the first time in 30 years, U.S. Postal Service delivery trucks are getting a facelift — and the new design is sending the internet into a tizzy.

The USPS announced on Tuesday a multi-million-dollar, decade-long contract with Oshkosh Defense to manufacture what they're calling the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle.

The NGDVs, which are expected to hit the road in 2023, are meant to replace the Postal Service's current delivery vehicle fleet, many of which have been in service for decades and are known to burst into flames.

The new vehicles will be equipped with either fuel-efficient internal combustion engines or battery electric powertrains, and will have air conditioning and heating, improved ergonomics, 360-degree cameras, advanced braking and traction control, more cargo space, air bags and a front- and rear-collision avoidance system that includes visual, audio warning and automatic braking.

With the announcement came the still-to-be-finalized design for the NGDVs, which feature a large windshield and a low front that juts out in a way that has drawn comparisons to a duck bill.

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"It's soooooo cute omg," one Twitter user wrote. "It looks like a golf cart & a platypus had a baby."

Another user said he was a longtime Postal Service worker who was excited about the trucks — even if he did consider them "dorkmobiles."

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"You know the post office is in a little bit of a pickle right now," actor John Ratzenberger said in a Cameo video shared on social media

"As a mailman, I'd just like to say we've been teased by the prospect of a new fleet of vehicles for my whole 17-year career. Is this actually official?? I'd be tickled pink to drive this dorkmobile!!!" he wrote.

Others, however had harsher opinions: when Politico transportation reporter Sam Mintz tweeted a poll asking users to decide whether they thought the design was "sleek and cool" or "an ugly duckling," 59.7 percent of people said the latter.

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"Looks like s—," New York Times reporter Mike Isaac wrote.

"This is how I would draw a car. That is not a plus for this design," another user wrote.

Others still compared it to a flying car featured in the film Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, as well as a car that Homer designed in an episode of The Simpsons.

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"I won't make fun of the kind of ugly usps delivery vehicle i won't make fun of the kind of ugly usps delivery vehicle i won't make fun of the kind of ugly usps delivery vehicle i won't make fun of th," one user joked.

The USPS said that Oshkosh Defense will assemble 50,000 to 165,000 of the cars over the next 10 years, and that the trucks will drive "the most dramatic modernization of the USPS fleet in three decades."