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Emerald Automotive is trying to help the U.S. Postal Service bring mail trucks into the future

More than a dozen companies, including those now making military Humvees and luxury sport-utility vehicles, are vying to bring the lowly mail truck into the future.

Fifteen suppliers have been qualified in the first leg of a competition that could be worth $5 billion over several years, according to the U.S. Postal Service. The USPS wants a vehicle able to operate for 20 years, and intends to buy 180,000 vehicles over three years.

Current candidates include global auto makers Ford Motor Co., Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Nissan Motor Co., Indian tractor and SUV maker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., Humvee maker AM General LLC, Daimler AG’s heavy-duty truck unit and Wisconsin defense contractor Oshkosh Corp.

The list also has lesser-known manufacturers that are gearing up to offer the USPS some innovative ways to moving its mail carriers and the packages they deliver. Ohio-based AMP Holding Inc. builds delivery vehicles that come with optional drones capable of ferrying packages short distances. Several electric vehicle makers also are on the list, including Northern California’s Zap Jonway Inc. and Missouri-based Emerald Automotive LLC.

[Wall Street Journal]