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BREAKING | Workhorse passed over for multibillion-dollar USPS contract

The postal service on Tuesday announced it awarded Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Defense the 10-year contract. The news almost certainly extinguishes the possibility of those vehicles rolling off the closely affiliated Lordstown Motors Corp. line, as executives once hoped.
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Lordstown Motors Corp. has draped its own banner over a sign outside the former General Motors Lordstown Assembly Complex, now the headquarters of the electric vehicle startup. (Submitted photo)

WASHINGTON — Though Workhorse Group Inc. was a finalist for a multibillion-dollar contract to make the U.S. Postal Service's next generation of delivery vehicles, it didn't reach the finish line.

The news almost certainly extinguishes the possibility of those vehicles rolling off the closely affiliated Lordstown Motors Corp. line, as executives once hoped.

The postal service on Tuesday announced it awarded Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Defense the 10-year contract to design and build the vehicle that will replace the service's aging fleet.

Oshkosh would be expected to manufacture 165,000 of the service's next-generation delivery vehicles over the next 10 years, according to a Tuesday release. Those vehicles are expected to hit the road in 2023.

Workhorse, the Ohio-based electric vehicle-maker co-founded by Lordstown Motors CEO Steve Burns, was one of a handful of bidding companies that remained at the end of the selection process, which was delayed extensively due to the COVID-19 pandemic, USPS officials previously said.

From the Tuesday release:

Under the contract’s initial $482 million investment, Oshkosh Defense will finalize the production design of the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) — a purpose-built, right-hand-drive vehicle for mail and package delivery — and will assemble 50,000 to 165,000 of them over 10 years. The vehicles will be equipped with either fuel-efficient internal combustion engines or battery electric powertrains and can be retrofitted to keep pace with advances in electric vehicle technologies. The initial investment includes plant tooling and build-out for the U.S. manufacturing facility where final vehicle assembly will occur.

If Workhorse, which owns a 10 percent stake in Lordstown Motors, would have been awarded the contract, it was expected the vehicles would have been manufactured at Lordstown Motors' 6.2-million-square-foot headquarters, the former General Motors Lordstown Assembly Complex.

Shares of Lordstown Motors (NASDAQ: RIDE) dropped 13 percent to close at $19.68 Tuesday.

Likewise, shares of Workhorse Group (NASDAQ: WKHS) dropped 47 percent to close at $16.47 Tuesday.