UPS has expanded its fleet of alternative-fuel vehicles with the deployment of 200 next-generation hybrid electric delivery trucks in Austin, Houston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington D.C., New York City, Minneapolis and Louisville.
Currently, 50 UPS hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) operate in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Phoenix. Together, UPS operates approximately 20,000 low-emission and alternative-fuel vehicles. The green fleet consists of several different ‘green’ technologies including compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, propane, electricity, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and hydraulic hybrid technology.
“Hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) aren’t well suited for routes with long interstate miles. They need to be used in urban areas with frequent stops where those brakes get a lot of use, generating a lot of electricity back into the batteries,” stated Bob Stoffel, UPS’s head of Sustainability.
He further added: “We aren’t dropping them around haphazardly either. We’ve looked very carefully at where they will be the most effective — the most efficient. A more efficient technology not being used efficiently is a waste of time and money for your business, and it doesn’t make stockholders happy either. So, where an HEV is advantageous we’re placing them there, such as Washington D.C. where we’ve deployed 17. Where a hydraulic hybrid or natural gas vehicle was deemed more effective, like Denver, UPS has deployed those instead.”
UPS has invested more than $15 million to develop its alternative fuel fleet, which has traveled more than 165 million miles since 2000, said the company.
In January, UPS deployed 245 new delivery trucks fueled with compressed natural gas (CNG) to cities in Colorado and California.
The 200 new HEV package cars 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 CO2 emissions by 1,786 metric tons.
In December last year, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory completed its analysis of UPS’s first generation hybrid diesel delivery vans, finding a 28 percent fuel savings.
UPS also expects to save up to 793,000 gallons of fuel a year by using technology to streamline its pickup schedule for small- and medium-sized business shipping customers.
Similarly, UPS’s competitor FedEx expanded its hybrid-electric delivery fleet from 172 to 264 with the addition of 92 retrofitted trucks last year. These hybrids are touted as the first standard FedEx delivery trucks converted to hybrid-electric systems.
In March, FedEx announced its decision to add all-electric trucks but the vehicles aren’t scheduled to enter service until June.
In an extended trial period using hybrid diesel trucks from Iveco, FedEx also achieved a significant fuel savings of 26.5 percent. The trial will continue until May 2010.