UPS Expands Its Fleet of Hybrid Electric Vehicles

UPS has expanded its fleet of alternative-fuel vehicles with the deployment of 200 next-generation hybrid electric delivery trucks in eight U.S. cities. The 200 new hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) join roughly 20,000 low-emission and alternative-fuel vehicles already in use and have been deployed in Austin, Houston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Long Island, Minneapolis and Louisville. Before this latest deployment, UPS was operating 50 hybrid electrics in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Phoenix.

According to Bob Stoffel, UPS senior vice president of supply chain, strategy, engineering and sustainability, this technology, where properly used, can yield a 35% fuel savings, which he says is the equivalent of 100 conventional UPS delivery vehicles.

The 200 new HEV delivery trucks are expected to reduce fuel consumption by roughly 176,000 gallons over the course of a year compared to an equivalent number of traditional diesel trucks. The hybrids also should reduce by 1,786 metric tons the amount of CO2 gases released annually into the atmosphere.

The new hybrid power system utilizes a conventional diesel engine combined with a battery pack, saving fuel and reducing pollution-causing emissions. The small diesel is used to recharge the battery pack and to add power when necessary.

The HEVs also use regenerative braking. The energy generated from applying the brakes is captured and returned to the battery as electricity. The combination of clean diesel power and electric power, supplemented by regenerative braking, can lead to fuel savings and emissions reductions.

The HEV fleet features two different size vehicles from Workhorse Custom Chassis and Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. and a hybrid power system from Eaton Corp. The external truck bodies are identical to UPS’s other signature brown trucks, although they feature additional labeling identifying them as hybrid electrics. The trucks use lithium ion batteries, which offer a faster re-charging capability and last longer than previous generation HEV batteries. Additionally, these vehicles are much quieter than conventional UPS trucks and feature keyless entry.

“Our goal is to reduce dependence on fossil fuels,” Stoffel says, “but there is no silver bullet technology to achieve this. This dependence will rely on a multi-modal approach.”

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