UPS announced today it plans to deploy 50 plug-in electric delivery trucks that will be comparable in acquisition cost to conventional-fueled trucks without any subsidies – what the package delivery company calls “an industry first that is breaking a key barrier to large-scale fleet adoption.”
UPS is collaborating with Workhorse Group Inc. to design the vehicles from the ground up. Each truck will have a range of approximately 100 miles between charges, making the vehicles ideal for delivery routes in and around cities. The class 5, zero-emission delivery trucks will rely on a cab forward design, which optimizes the driver compartment and cargo area, increases efficiency, and reduces vehicle weight, according to the partners.
The new trucks will join UPS’ Rolling Lab, a growing fleet of more than 9,000 alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles.
“Electric vehicle technology is rapidly improving with battery, charging and smart grid advances that allow us to specify our delivery vehicles to eliminate emissions, noise and dependence on diesel and gasoline,” says Carlton Rose, president of global fleet maintenance and engineering for UPS. “With our scale and real-world duty cycles, these new electric trucks will be a quantum leap forward for the purpose-built UPS delivery fleet. The all-electric trucks will deliver by day and re-charge overnight. We are uniquely positioned to work with our partners, communities and customers to transform freight transportation.”
“This innovation is the result of Workhorse working closely with UPS over the last four years refining our electric vehicles with hard-fought lessons from millions of road miles and thousands of packages delivered,” adds Steve Burns, CEO of Workhorse Group. “Our goal is to make it easy for UPS and others to go electric by removing prior roadblocks to large scale acceptance such as cost.”
UPS plans to test the vehicles primarily on urban routes across the country, including Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles. Following testing, UPS and Workhorse plan to fine-tune the design in time to deploy a larger fleet in 2019 and beyond. Because most of the maintenance costs of a vehicle are associated with the engine and related components, UPS expects the operating cost of the new plug-in EV to be less than a similarly equipped diesel or gasoline vehicle.
Ultimately, UPS says its goal is to make the new EVs a “standard selection,” where appropriate, in its “fleet of the future.” UPS currently has approximately 35,000 diesel or gasoline trucks in its fleet that are comparable in size to the new EVs.
UPS’ fleet currently includes all-electric, hybrid electric, hydraulic hybrid, ethanol, compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas and propane. It currently has more than 300 EVs deployed in Europe and the U.S., as well as nearly 700 hybrid electric vehicles. The company also recently ordered 125 new fully-electric Semi tractors to be built by Tesla in 2019. Additionally, last September, UPS announced it plans to become the first commercial customer in the U.S. to start using three medium-duty electric trucks from Daimler Trucks’ Fuso brand, called the eCanter.
The initiative will help UPS attain its goal to have one in four new vehicles purchased by 2020 be an alternative fuel or advanced technology vehicle. The company also has pledged to obtain 25% of the electricity it consumes from renewable energy sources by 2025 and replace 40% of all ground fuel with sources other than conventional gasoline and diesel – representing an increase from 19.6% in 2016.