UPS plans electric vehicle fleet with Workhorse, touts cost efficiencies

UPS says the 50-vehicle fleet will cost roughly the same as operating conventional-fueled trucks without taking into account any subsidies.
Written by Natalie Gagliordi, Contributor

UPS on Thursday announced that it will deploy 50 custom-built electric delivery vans in 2019 as the shipping giant aims to reduce its fleet of gasoline-powered vehicles. The effort is in partnership with truck maker Workhorse Group and will initially target delivery routes in and around cities.

Workhorse says the plug-in UPS vans will have a range of around 100 miles between charges, and a cab forward design for optimized efficiency. Meanwhile, UPS says the 50-vehicle fleet will cost roughly the same as conventional-fueled trucks without taking into account any subsidies -- something UPS claims is an industry first and a key step toward large scale electric fleet adoption.

"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 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."

UPS -- which operates one of the largest commercial vehicle fleets in the world -- will test the vehicles mostly on urban routes in Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles. Once testing is complete, UPS says it will deploy the vehicles on a larger scale and ultimately hopes to replace a large swath of its 35,000 diesel and gasoline trucks with electric-powered alternatives.

By 2020, UPS wants make one in four new vehicles that it purchases to be an alternative fuel or advanced technology vehicle.

In a similar move, UPS announced in December that it had pre-ordered 125 of Tesla's upcoming all-electric Semi trucks to join its alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicle fleet. Along with reduced cost of ownership and eco-friendly promises, UPS said Tesla's Semi trucks could also reduce crashes thanks to its automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, and other safety features.

Earlier in 2017, UPS said it would start using three medium-duty electric trucks from Daimler Trucks Fuso brand, called the eCanter.


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