UPS announced it placed orders for seven hydraulic hybrid vehicles (HHV), and touted that it is the first in the industry to do so. The technology stores energy by compressing hydraulic fluid under pressure in a larger chamber and was developed in an EPA laboratory.
Eaton helped develop and refine the vehicle’s hydraulic hybrid power system and will monitor the vehicle’s fuel economy performance and emissions when the first two HHVs are deployed in Minneapolis in early 2009. The remaining five will be deployed in late 2009 and early 2010.
UPS and the EPA said the prototype vehicle achieved a 45 to 50 percent improvement in fuel economy compared to conventional diesel trucks during road testing on Detroit routes. UPS believes similar fuel economy improvements and a 30 percent reduction in CO2 are achievable in daily, real-world use.
The EPA estimates that when manufactured in high volume, the added costs of the hybrid components can be recouped in less than three years through lower fuel and brake maintenance costs.
In UPS’ latest corporate sustainability report, the company reported that its energy consumption per package has increased by 1.2 percent due to faster transit-times and increased residential deliveries. (Although fuel consumption per package improved 0.4 percent.)
The company says it’s continuing to look for operational measures to reduce energy such as rerouting to avoid left turns.
In May, UPS expanded its U.S. Green Fleet from 50 hybrid electric trucks to 250 (the largest commercial order of such trucks by any company), and increased its fleet of vehicles running on compressed natural gas from 800 to 1,100. In March, UPS added 167 CNG delivery vehicles to its fleets in Texas, Georgia and California.