Some UPS trucks are getting an electric makeover

Some UPS trucks will get an electric makeover.
Image: Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

UPS is giving some its fossil-fuel powered vehicles a green energy makeover. 

The company has over 108,000 delivery vehicles deployed on routes around the world. More than 770 of those are powered by electric or hybrid motors, and UPS wants to add to that number without actually buying any new vehicles.  

UPS will team up with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to convert up to 1,500 diesel trucks to new all-electric systems.

The program, which will be based in the Bronx in NYC, depends on $500,000 from NYSERDA to develop and test the conversion system. UPS and transportation energy company Unique Electric Solutions (UES) LLC will collaborate on the project. If all goes according to plan, the converted e-trucks will start running NYC UPS routes next spring. 

The UPS trucks will be outfitted with UES chassis kits, which will replace the conventional setup with a 225kW electric motor to the rigs. The new system will make the vehicles up to 20 percent more energy efficient, according to the company.

The all-electric powertrain convertor kit.

Image: ues

UPS didn’t didn’t provide a range estimate for the converted trucks, but UES says on its site that its uniqueEV chassis kit can offer between 40 to 125 miles per charge, depending on the configuration.

The project aims to perfect a system to convert up to three of the diesel trucks daily, with plans to transform about 1,500 vehicles (66 percent of UPS’ NYC fleet) by 2022. 

UPS is embracing electrification, and recently made a public goal stating that one out of every four vehicles purchased by 2020 will run on alternative fuels or some other “advanced technology.” The company has already begun to make good on its comments, buying 200 hybrid trucks last month and queuing up as the first customer for Daimler’s new all-electric FUSO delivery trucks. 

The all-electric UPS trucks might not be as eye-catching as those decked out with T-Swift album ads, but the new delivery vehicles could mark an important new practice for companies that manage massive fleets of diesel-powered vehicles. If the program is a success, we might see even more conversion programs put into practice as every industry that depends on the internal combustion engine shifts their focus to electricity.   

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Tags: conversion electric-truck electric-vehicles energy tech transportation ups

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