Workhorse, the electric-truck maker, will meet with the Postal Service about the contract it lost.
Workhorse Group, the small company that lost a contract last week to build electric delivery trucks for the United States Postal Service, said Monday that it would meet with officials at the post office on Wednesday to discuss the decision.
Shares of Workhorse tumbled after the Postal Service chose a competitor, Oshkosh Defense, to replace its aging fleet of 229,000 right hand-drive trucks used for letter and parcel delivery.
“This is not the result we had anticipated or hoped for,” Workhorse’s chief executive, Duane Hughes, said in a conference call on Monday to discuss the company’s fourth quarter results. “We intend to explore all avenues that are available to us.”
Mr. Hughes added the company is talking to “different parties and groups” but declined to elaborate on what Workhorse might do to get postal officials to reconsider their decision, which has also been criticized by some lawmakers and environmental groups because most of the trucks under the Oshkosh bid will be powered by gasoline.
Workhorse’s chances of getting a second shot at the Postal Service business may hinge on whether President Biden is able to force out Louis DeJoy, the postmaster general who was installed last year by board members appointed by former President Donald J. Trump. Mr. DeJoy has cut overtime and taken other steps in the name of efficiency that critics have said resulted in significant delays in letter and package deliveries.
Mr. DeJoy oversaw the decision to award a 10-year contract worth $482 million to Oshkosh, which offered to make gasoline-powered trucks that could be converted later to run on battery power. The decision runs counter to Mr. Biden’s recent executive order to replace the 645,000 vehicles in federal fleets with electric vehicles.
After the contract decision was announced, Mr. Biden nominated three new members to the Postal Service board, which has the power to fire the postmaster general.
“I think what you’re seeing is a speedup in what President Biden is doing to put the board of governors together in such a way to support his plan going forward,” Mr. Hughes said.
Workhorse saw its share price rise from less than $2 a year ago to more than $40 at the beginning of February in anticipation that it would win at least part of the Postal Service contract. The stock lost more than half its value after the Post Office announced it had chosen Oshkosh for the contract.
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Workhorse said it made $69.8 million in profit in 2020, but only because it brought in $323 million related to the 10 percent stake it owns in Lordstown Motors, an electric pickup truck start-up that was founded by Workhorse’s former chief executive. Workhorse was trading at about $16.60 a share on Monday afternoon, up about 3 percent.
Workhorse has orders for some 8,000 electric delivery vans, but has struggled to ramp up production. It made just seven trucks in the fourth quarter, when its operations were temporarily halted because about a third of its workers tested positive for Covid-19.
The company said it hoped to increase production to three trucks a day by the end of this month, and to 10 trucks a day by the end of June.