|Grumman Long Life Vehicle|
|Assembly||United States of America|
|Body and chassis|
|Engine||GM Iron Duke engine|
|Transmission||3-speed Turbo-Hydramatic 180 automatic transmission|
|Wheelbase||8 ft 4.5 in (2.553 m)</ref>|
|Length||14 ft 7.5 in (4.458 m)|
|Width||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Height||7 ft 1 in (2.16 m)|
|Curb weight||2,700 lb (1,200 kg)|
The Grumman LLV was specifically designed for the United States Postal Service with Grumman winning the contract for production. 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 twenty years of operation. The original design lifespan of the Grumman LLV specified by the U.S. Postal Service was 24 years, but in 2009 this was extended to thirty years. The body and final assembly is by Grumman, and the chassis 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.
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. It entered service in 1987. The USPS purchased over 100,000 of these vehicles, of which the last was purchased 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, the Grumman LLV features a right-handed driver's position, in contrast to the typical left-hand drive 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 (See: Video example). 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 mpg (16 city/18 highway). Like other U.S. Postal Service vehicles before it, the Grumman LLV lacks license plates. It uses a U.S. Postal Service serial number instead.
Replacing the Grumman LLV
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. In some areas LLVs have been replaced with minivans, which tend to be much more comfortable for postal workers, especially in extreme climates.
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 Ford Transit Connect vans.
Modern fuel economy standards, along with environmentalism has also been a key factor in retiring the Grumman LLVs for mail delivery services, as well as retiring gasoline engines as a whole.
The LLV had a unique footprint. The front wheels had narrower spacing than the rear wheels. The front of the vehicle also had low ground clearance. While this had advantages, there were trade offs. The vehicle was tested successfully in warmer climates, but when actually used in places with substantial snow fall, they became difficult to control and were poorly adapted to those conditions.
- Argonne National Laboratory. "Nation’s Largest Alternative-Fuel Fleet Delivers the Goods for the U.S. Postal Service" (PDF). U.S. Department of Energy. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
- 1988 Grumman Allied Industries LLV
- "LLV Postal Trucks". Grumman Memorial Park. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
- Idaho National Laboratory. "All-Electric Conversion of the USPS Long Life Vehicle (LLV)" (PDF). U.S. Department of Energy. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
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- Herr, Phillip; Turner, Kathleen (Assistant Director); Clifford, Nicola; Eisenstadt, Bess; Erion, Laura; Guinane, Tim; John, Kenneth; Lawrence, Alexander; Ormond, Joshua; Owens, Robert; Rosenberg, Matthew; Rubin, Kelly; Springer, Karla; Ungvarsky, James; Wesco, Crystal; Wilbur, Alwynne (May 2011). "Report to Congressional Requesters: UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE: Strategy Needed to Address Aging Delivery Fleet" (PDF). Government Accountability Office. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
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- O'Keefe, Ed (June 18, 2010). "Postal service in a bind on upkeep of vehicle fleet". The Washington Post. p. B3.
- Ford Motor Company Press Release, "Canada Post Selects Ford Transit Connect to Replace Aging National Fleet of Light Vehicles," 18 March 2010.
- Pope, Nancy A. (January 2009). "Former Object of the Month: Long Life Vehicle". National Postal Museum, Smithsonian Museum. Retrieved January 8, 2014.