UPS is not one to shy away from emerging technology, especially when it comes to lowering its carbon footprint. Recently, the package delivery and supply chain management provider dipped its toes a little deeper into the electric truck market with the acquisition of a Freightliner eCascadia battery-electric Class 8 truck.
“UPS remains very committed to electrifying its fleet, and this vehicle is the first battery-electric heavy-duty class 8 truck to be deployed for testing within the UPS global fleet,” said Scott Phillippi, senior director of maintenance and engineering, international operations, at UPS.
With roughly 1,000 electric or hybrid-electric vehicles already in operation in cities around the world, UPS expects to continue to proactively “lead the charge” on electrification of medium-duty vehicles over the next five years, Phillippi told HDT.
The long-term lease of the eCascadia, which will be working out of the company’s Anaheim, California, location, was part of a collaborative effort between UPS, Daimler Trucks North America, Freightliner, and Penske, with the support of California's South Coast Air Quality Management District. The testing will provide real-world experience of the use of heavy-duty battery-electric trucks for UPS.
“We’ll be measuring the range as well as evaluating the vehicle’s reliability, design and integration into our fleet over the next year,” said Phillippi.
Anaheim was chosen because of the convenience for charging, since it is located close to a Penske depot with electric charging capabilities. Also, there are currently more electric charging stations in California than any other state.
Phillippi and his team have a number of questions they would like answered by the testing, including:
- What exactly is the range?
- How reliable is it?
- Does the design work for us or what would need to be modified?
- How does this vehicle integrate into our fleet?
UPS has tested a number of different alternative fuels and drivetrains in its fleet, including three Toyota and Kenworth jointly developed fuel cell electric heavy-duty truck, which was announced last April.
The carrier also plans to test the Tesla Semi, according to Phillippi. “We’re hoping to begin getting these semis at the end of next year.” UPS preordered 125 of the Tesla electric Class 8 trucks in December 2017.