Fleet operators are beginning to make the transition from pilot EV programs to serious orders, and UPS is leading the way. Big Brown has just ordered 950 N-GEN electric delivery vans from Cincinnati-based Workhorse. In February, UPS announced plans to deploy a test fleet of 50 N-GEN trucks, so the latest purchase brings its N-GEN fleet to an even thousand.
Workhorse and UPS have been working closely together over the last four years to develop the new Class 5 trucks. The companies say they are comparable in acquisition cost to legacy trucks with no subsidies, and improve fuel efficiency by nearly 400%.
Workhorse’s N-GEN electric van has a range of 100 miles, and an optional gas range extender engine can add another 75 miles. It’s geared toward urban deliveries, but the company has plans to develop additional configurations for telecom/municipal applications and larger 700-cubic-foot and 1,000-cubic-foot versions, for production in late 2018. Workhorse hopes to put 2,000 electric vans on the road by the end of the year.
The Workhorse fleet is only one of several electrification initiatives at UPS. The brown behemoth recently deployed 35 custom-built electric delivery trucks in London. In New York, it’s working to convert up to 1,500 delivery trucks to electric drive. It has also ordered 125 Tesla Semis and several of Daimler’s new FUSO eCanters.