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UPS Rolls Out 200 Hybrids

UPS is putting 200 new hybrid electric trucks into service across eight U.S. cities in an effort to reduce fuel consumption, according to a company press release. The new hybrids join the roughly 20,000 low-emission and alternative-fuel vehicles already in use by UPS. The 200 new trucks will operate in Austin, Houston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Long Island, Minneapolis and Louisville. Currently, 50 UPS hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) operate in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Phoenix.

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 by 1,786 metric tonnes the amount of CO2 gases released annually into the atmosphere.

The HEVs use a Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation body and a hybrid power system from Eaton Corporation. 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.

The news follows an announcement by Verizon that it is rolling out almost 600 new hybrid Chevrolet Silverados with an EPA estimated 21 MPG for city driving and 22 MPG for highway driving, while Xcel Energy is considering deploying ten hybrid Ford Escape SUVs for its fleet.

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.

UPS was the first package delivery company to introduce a HEV into daily operations with a research program it launched in early 1998. In 2001, the company deployed the industry’s first hybrid electric package car into regular service in Huntsville, Ala.

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