UPS is to deploy 50 plug-in electric delivery trucks that will be comparable in acquisition cost to conventional-fueled trucks without any subsidies, and says it is an industry first that is breaking a key barrier to large scale fleet adoption.
The company is collaborating with Workhorse Group, Inc. to design the vehicles from the ground up, with zero tailpipe emissions.
“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,” said Carlton Rose, President, 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.”
Workhorse claims these vehicles provide nearly 400% fuel efficiency improvement as well as optimum energy efficiency, vehicle performance and a better driver experience. Each truck will have a range of approximately 100 miles between charges, ideal for delivery routes in and around cities.
The class 5, zero emission delivery trucks will rely on a cab forward design, which optimises the driver compartment and cargo area, increasing efficiency and reducing vehicle weight. The new trucks will join the company’s Rolling Lab, a growing fleet of more than 9,000 alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles.
“This innovation is the result of Workhorse working closely with UPS over the last 4 years refining our electric vehicles with hard fought lessons from millions of road miles and thousands of packages delivered,” said 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 will test the vehicles primarily on urban routes across the country, including Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles. With zero emissions and lower noise, the electric delivery trucks will help UPS make its fleet cleaner and quieter, a significant benefit in urban areas.
Following real-world test deployments, UPS and Workhorse will fine-tune the design in time to deploy a larger fleet in 2019 and beyond.
Since 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 electric vehicle to be less than a similarly equipped diesel or gasoline vehicle.