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Here’s a Spy Shot of the New U.S. Postal Service Van

You’re probably very familiar with the Grumman LLV, which is the mail truck we’ve all grown up with, as it’s been in service now for decades. In the years since the Grumman LLV has gone out of production, the U.S. Postal Service has tried various other solutions, from cargo vans to minivans adapted for postal use. Now there’s another vehicle on the horizon — and this could be it.

The vehicle pictured above is a new prototype mail van, and it’s manufactured by a company called Karsan — a Turkish firm that recently received a government contract to create a prototype mail vehicle. These contracts went to a handful of firms (including AM General and Oshkosh), and the U.S. government is currently testing all their prototypes.

What makes this particular prototype mail van interesting is that it appears to be a plug-in hybrid, as exterior images from both sides show two "ports" on the outside — likely one for fuel and one for charging. Of course, it also has a high roof, doors on both sides, a cargo door in back and an additional passenger side door to the cargo area. The truck also appears to be right-hand-drive, which makes it easier for postal workers to stick mail in boxes on the side of the road.

According to the U.S. government, there are over 200,000 mail trucks in operation, of which about 65 percent are over 20 years old — hence the need for a replacement. Once the prototype testing period is over, the U.S. government will make a final decision on which mail truck to choose, awarding a contract worth $6.3 billion. The government has previously said this contract would be awarded early this year. Find a van for sale

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

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