Workhorse Group (NASDAQ:WKHS) isn't going away quietly after losing a $6 billion contract from the U.S. Postal Service to rival Oshkosh (NYSE:OSK)

The electric-truck builder said today that it has requested additional information from the Postal Service about the awarding of the contract for its next-generation delivery vehicles (NGDV). Workhorse said it intends "to explore all avenues that are available to non-awarded finalists in a government bidding process."

USPS delivery truck

Image source: USPS.

The Postal Service has used the same boxy delivery trucks for more than 30 years. Built by Northrop Grumman and placed into service in 1987, the Grumman Long Life Vehicle (LLV) was supposed to have a 24-year life span, but was kept on life support as the USPS kept delaying the contract.

By the time the pandemic struck, the LLVs were seriously beyond their due date at the salvage yard. Yesterday, the post office awarded the contract to Oshkosh with an expectation that the new trucks will be on the road in 2023. By that time, the LLVs will have been in service for 36 years.

There were originally 15 companies vying for the contract, but by 2016 that had been whittled down to six. Over the next five years, a number of companies backed out, leaving just three at the end. 

Workhorse was originally a subcontractor providing the chassis and powertrain to VT Hackney, a Singapore-based aerospace, electronics, and military contractor. VT Hackney subsequently withdrew from the bidding, and Workhorse acquired the intellectual property and right to bid on the contract for $7 million.

Oshkosh is partnering with Ford. It will receive an initial payment of $482 million, and over the next 10 years will deliver 50,000 to 165,000 vehicles outfitted with either fuel-efficient engines or battery-electric powertrains that can be retrofitted as technology improves.

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