Last year we had reported that Mahindra and Mahindra was shortlisted for the development of the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) prototype. The Indian carmaker was one of the six vehicle manufacturers selected by the United States Postal Service (USPS). Now, we have clear and detailed images of Mahindra’s USPS prototype spotted in the wild for the first time.
Mahindra had applied for the said contract to replace the current vehicles in October 2015. The six shortlisted manufacturers were announced last October and were give a year to design and deliver their prototypes. Seems Mahindra is the first one to deliver with the prototype looking good enough to take on the duties right away. The NGDV prototype will be tested and analysed by USPS. The prerequisite laid down by the postal service stated that the vehicle should be better equipped to handle the large packages, should have air conditioning and a better fuel economy.
Mahindra’s proposal for NGDV prototypes for the USPS was led by south-east Michigan-based Mahindra North American Technical Center (MNATC). The proposal submitted by MNATC stressed upon the safety, ergonomics and fuel economy of the vehicle which will be developed from ground-up. The truck will be powered by a 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel motor. It might also get a mild hybrid powertrain along with both two- and four-wheel drive layout.
The right-hand-drive prototype resembles the current delivery trucks but is equipped with modern amenities. There are up-to-date features such as a driver's airbag, push-button start and a push-button gear selector, as can be seen in the images. There is a large digital screen as well instead of the traditional instrument cluster. It's also noticeably taller than the outgoing truck. There are cameras mounted on the side near the tall roofline and upfront on the grille as well. There are more than a few ORVMs on the truck for better visibility. Its boxy exterior design and tall roof hints at a large cargo space.
If Mahindra wins the contract, it will have to deliver 180,000 trucks to the postal service. USPS will evaluate Mahindra’s prototype to determine what changes need to be made. It's expected to start being phased in by the end of the decade.