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Workhorse abruptly drops lawsuit against Postal Service over new mail truck

EV startup Workhorse has dropped its lawsuit opposing the decision of the United States Postal Service to ask Oshkosh Defense to manufacture the next generation of mail trucks. The court accepted Workhorse's voluntary dismissal late Tuesday -- just a day before the first oral arguments began regarding the USPS's attempt to dismiss the case.

Workhorse filed a protest in the US Court of Federal Claims in mid-June, when the USPS announced it had awarded defense contractor Oshkosh the contract to build the next generation mail truck, ending a competition that began in 2015. Had been.

An Oshkosh spokesperson said in an email to The Verge, “We are pleased to learn that Workhorse Group has voiced its opposition to the award of the United States Postal Service Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (“USPS NGDV”) contract to Oshkosh Defense. is. withdrawn." [W]e are proud that the USPS selected our solution to meet the needs of the NGDV program. We look forward to working with our partners across the country to bring these highly capable and efficient vehicles to the carriers who need them. "

In a statement, the USPS said it is "committed to modernizing our delivery fleet to serve our customers. The Postal Service is working diligently with our supplier, and our Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDV). Looking forward to production.

Workhorse's decision to drop the lawsuit comes two weeks after a short-selling research firm published a report on the startup alleging fraud and accusing the company of hiding a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation from investors. . Workhorse did not respond to multiple requests for comment about the dismissal and did not respond to any questions about the allegations.

The dismissal also comes after Workhorse replaced its CEO and the company announced plans to redesign its flagship electric delivery van, which it had just started building.

The USPS set out to replace its existing mail trucks in 2015, in hopes of making the fleet more fuel efficient and giving mail carriers advanced safety features and modern amenities such as air conditioning. Workhorse was one of the few companies it put on hold for final bids last year, and it claimed to be the only company to propose building a fully electric mail fleet.

But despite some big-name companies like UPS and FedEx testing their earlier vehicles, the Ohio-based company struggled to pull off competition. To keep itself afloat, Workhorse borrowed money from a hedge fund and sold off parts of its business – including licensing intellectual property for an electric pickup truck, which its former CEO Lordstown Motors bought into a new company. as started. The company was never made for him.

The Postal Service selected Oshkosh in February, and the agency and defense contractor revealed a new vehicle believed to be able to run on both gas and electric drivetrains. Oshkosh has agreed to build 50,000 to 165,000 trucks over 10 years. Initially only 10 percent will be electric, and they are not considered "fuel-efficient [and] low emissions," although neither Oshkosh nor the USPS have endorsed those terms with any numbers. The USPS has said it will need billions of dollars to increase the number of all-electric vehicles it can order from Oshkosh.

Workhorse initially filed an appeal with the USPS after the award was announced, and then filed its bid opposition in Federal Claims Court on June 16. The USPS (and Oshkosh, which joined the case to support the agency's defense) argued that the workhorse should have gone. Through at least one more official step set forth in the Competition Rules prior to filing a federal lawsuit, and attempting to dismiss the case. these basis. An oral debate on the USPS's motion to dismiss was to take place on Wednesday.

The USPS has been highly confidential about the details of the competition and its decision to go with Oshkosh. Workhorse alleged that Oshkosh changed its plans at the end of the competition, and the design revealed in February was never subject to the tests the USPS required by its regulations. Workhorse also disclosed in one of its filings that the USPS told the startup that there was at least one other all-electric entrant, and that even if the agency had not selected Oshkosh, Workhorse would not have won the contract.

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