UPS is an electrification pioneer – the company has invested over $1 billion in alternative fuel projects since 2009, and currently has more than 10,000 alternative fuel vehicles in its global fleet.
The logistics giant has teamed up with TEVVA Motors to develop a new class of electric delivery vehicles that addresses a particular problem: many cities in Europe plan to institute “clean air zones,” within which deliveries must be made by zero-emission vehicles. However, in some locations, warehouses and depots are located some distance from the city center. The current generation of electric delivery trucks offers an average range of 100 km, which is often not far enough to reach urban drop-off points.
UPS has added 15 range-extended electric vehicles (REEVs) to its Birmingham and Southampton fleets – both markets with long distances to travel from the warehouses to the urban areas served. Birmingham is set to introduce a clean air zone in its city center by 2020. With an electric range of 100 km, and total range of 400 km, the new vans can get from the depot to the town center on diesel power, and automatically switch to zero-emission operation within the urban areas on their routes.
The custom-built vehicles, which were developed in conjunction with EV specialists TEVVA, each have a 150 kW electric motor and a 74 kWh Li-ion battery pack, plus a small diesel engine to provide additional range when needed. The cargo capacity of 23 cubic meters equals that of legacy diesel vehicles of the same weight class.
The vehicles use geofencing technology to automatically switch to pure electric mode when reaching a predetermined boundary, such as entering a clean air zone. The vehicle switches back to the diesel engine to recharge the battery on the motorway connecting neighboring towns or on the way back to the UPS depot.
“EU legislation says that [greenhouse gas emissions] need to be cut by 15% by 2025 and 30% by 2030, and Net Zero in the UK by 2050,” said TEVVA Commercial Director Richard Lidstone-Scott. “What that means is that the electrification of the medium-duty truck sector is inevitable, yet many firms and OEMs are still scratching their heads about how and when to make that happen. At TEVVA we already have viable technology, proven in real-world trials, which can help companies like UPS reduce emissions to almost zero without compromising their business-critical ability to carry full payloads.”
“This is a big breakthrough for our continued use of electric vehicles in the UK – and for the communities we serve,” says UPS Director Of Automotive Engineering Luke Wake. “We can serve our customers with lower-emission alternatively fueled vehicles in places beyond the reach of existing pure electric vehicles at this weight class.”