|Grumman Long Life Vehicle|
|Also called||USPS Mail truck|
|Body and chassis|
|Transmission||3-speed GM TH180 automatic|
|Front||54.1 in (1,370 mm)|
|Rear||63 in (1,600 mm)|
|Wheelbase||100.5 in (2,550 mm)|
|Length||175.5 in (4,460 mm)|
|Width||75 in (1,900 mm)|
|Height||85 in (2,200 mm)|
|Curb weight||2,700 lb (1,200 kg)|
The Grumman Long Life Vehicle (LLV) is an American light transport truck model, designed as a mail truck for the United States Postal Service, which is its primary user. It is also used by Canada Post.
The Grumman LLV was specifically designed for the United States Postal Service; Grumman won the contract to produce it. The main design points of the vehicle in contract competition were serviceability, handling in confined areas, and overall economical operation. As its name suggests, the Grumman LLV is easily capable of a long life, perhaps approaching 20 years of operation. The lifespan specified by the U.S. Postal Service was 24 years, but in 2009 this was extended to 30 years. The majority of LLVs have been on the road for over 27 years. The body and final assembly is by Grumman, and the chassis (based on the 1982 Chevrolet S-10 Blazer) is made by General Motors, with the powerplant (2.5L I-4 TBI "Iron Duke" and, in later production, General Motors 2.2L I-4 iron block/aluminum head engine), instrument cluster and front suspension similar to those used in the Chevrolet S-10 pickup and Chevrolet S-10 Blazer sport utility vehicle.
In the United States, the Grumman LLV is the most common vehicle used by letter carriers for curbside and residential delivery of mail, replacing the previous standard letter-carrier vehicle, the Jeep DJ-5. Curbside delivery from a driver seated in a vehicle to a curbside mailbox is sometimes termed "mounted delivery", in contrast to walking delivery. The Grumman LLV entered service in 1987. The USPS bought over 100,000 of these vehicles, the last one in 1994. Approximately 140,000 LLVs are in the USPS delivery fleet. A number were also sold to Canada, Mexico, and several other countries.
Like the older postal-service Jeep DJ-5, the Grumman LLV features a right-hand drive (RHD) configuration, in contrast to the typical left-hand drive (LHD) position of vehicles in North America. It also features a large metal tray, which is able to hold three trays of letter mail, mounted where a passenger seat would normally be. This arrangement positions the driver on the side of the vehicle closest to the curb, enabling the carrier to easily grab sorted mail and place it into mailboxes without having to leave the seat. Other notable features are an exceptionally tight turning radius and a low-geared, 3 speed transmission for hauling heavy cargo. The LLV has a 1,000-pound (450 kg) cargo capacity.
The Grumman LLV's average EPA fuel economy is 17 miles per US gallon (14 L/100 km) [16 miles per US gallon (15 L/100 km) in the city/18 miles per US gallon (13 L/100 km) on the highway]. In actual use by the USPS, which includes extensive stop-and-go driving for residential delivery, average fuel economy is about 10 miles per US gallon (24 L/100 km). Like other U.S. Postal Service vehicles before it, the Grumman LLV lacks license plates and instead uses a seven digit U.S. Postal Service serial number, usually starting with 020, 021, 120, 125, 126, 220, 221, 330, 331, 430, 431, 720, 820, 821, 920, or 921. The first digit of the serial number represents the last digit of the year in which it was made.
Grumman LLV in Concord, NH in 2017
Because the United States Postal Service owns over 100,000 Grumman LLVs, of which the oldest are reaching the end of their lifespan, the USPS has been looking into replacing or retrofitting the LLVs. In fiscal year 2009, the USPS spent $524 million to repair its fleet of Grumman LLVs, and estimated that it would cost $4.2 billion to replace the entire fleet.
The LLVs also suffer from a number of design flaws including lack of air conditioning and a heater prone to breaking down. The wheels and suspension are not suited for the all-terrain and all-weather needs of delivering mail and require snow chains during inclement weather. Also, because the windshield fluid line is above the fusebox, LLVs are prone to catching fire, with 42 fires reported in 2017 alone. According to documents obtained in 2020 via a Freedom of Information Act request as part of a Vice Media investigation, 407 LLVs have been damaged or destroyed since May 2014.
In some areas, LLVs have been replaced with vans and minivans, including the Dodge Grand Caravan and Dodge Ram ProMaster, which tend to be much more comfortable for postal workers, especially in extreme climates.
In 2014, the USPS reviewed options for replacement. The Office of Inspector General found that the Postal Services' acquisition plan for replacements lacked details and while the USPS could continue deliveries until 2017, there were concerns over the aging vehicles.
Canada Post also adopted the Grumman LLV, but around 2008, it began studying whether to refurbish, upgrade, or replace its fleet. On March 18, 2010, Canada Post and Ford Motor Company announced that Canada Post would purchase a fleet of Transit Connect vans.
The LLV has a unique footprint. The front wheels (taken from the two-wheel-drive S-10 Blazer model) have narrower spacing than the rear wheels (using the rear axle from the four-wheel-drive S-10 Blazer model). The front of the vehicle also has low ground clearance. While this has advantages, there are some trade offs. The vehicle was tested successfully in warmer climates, but when used in places with substantial snowfall, they became difficult to control and were poorly adapted to those conditions.
On January 20, 2015, the USPS released solicitation RFI-NGDV for the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle. Potential bidders had until March 5, 2015 to submit comments and pre-qualification responses. The USPS was to then select companies to receive the RFP for prototype development. On February 13, 2015, it was announced that General Motors was actively pursuing this new contract, which would have them provide the USPS with 180,000 new vehicles at a cost of at least $5 billion. On September 22, 2016, the United States Postal Service awarded the NGDV Prototype Contract to six selected suppliers: AM General, Karsan, Mahindra, Oshkosh, Utilimaster, and a joint-venture bid involving Workhorse and VT Hackney. Half of the prototypes will feature hybrid and new technologies, including alternative fuel capabilities. The prototypes will represent a variety of vehicle sizes and drive configurations, in addition to advanced power trains and a range of hybrid technologies.
On February 23, 2021, USPS announced that Oshkosh Defense has been awarded the contract for design and manufacture of the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV), delivering up to 165,000 of the American-built vehicles over a 10-year period.
Mounted delivery is on average 50% more efficient than walking door to door.
The first LLVs were produced in 1987, and they average about 10 miles per gallon.