CEDAR RAPIDS — In some Cedar Rapids neighborhoods, the long-familiar thunk-thunk-thunk of a mail carrier’s truck on its way is being replaced with a far-more silent approach.
After more than two decades of hauling mail and packages to American homes and businesses, the U.S. Postal Service is replacing its aging delivery fleet.
Mercedes-Benz Metris vans have begun to replace the familiar boxy Grumman Long Life Vehicles in Cedar Rapids.
In all, a total of 17,310 Metris vans and more than 7,100 Dodge ProMasters will be swapped out for Grumman LLVs, Chevrolet Uplanders and Dodge Caravans over the next three years
The Metris is a right-hand drive van designed and manufactured for commercial use. It is assembled in a Mercedes-Benz factory in Ladson, S.C.
“This vehicle was deployed into delivery operations earlier this year, and is equipped with standard safety features such as rear view camera, antilocking brake system, air bags, and anti-collision assist,” said Nicole Hill, communications specialist with the USPS based in Minneapolis, Minn.
“The locations for deployment of the Metris are determined based on operational needs.”
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
The Grumman LLVs were built for the USPS and placed in service in the early 1980s. The aluminum body vehicles are powered by a four-cylinder, 90-horsepower engine that was manufactured by Pontiac, the defunct General Motors division.
They have a maximum capacity of 1,000 pounds of cargo.
With a 2.0-liter turbocharged gas Mercedes-Benz engine, the Metris averages 20 miles per gallon in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.
The Metris can haul upward of 2,425 pounds of cargo.
The USPS plans to spend $6 billion to replace its aging, tired fleet. The LLVs were only meant to serve the USPS through 2017.
The USPS spends massive sums of money to keep the LLVs in service. Trucks.com cites government figures that show the USPS spent $1.2 billion on maintenance in 2019, an increase of 2.5 percent.
Grumman LLVs also have a track record of 120 fires in five years.