UPS purchased 125 new technology hybrid-electric delivery trucks manufactured by Workhorse Group Inc., as part of a broader program to deploy electric-powered vehicles with greater range and performance.
UPS was looking to use advanced technologies to reduce the environmental impact of its fleet, according to Workhorse.
“UPS was specifically interested in vehicles that could offer significant fuel economy gains compared to gasoline-powered vehicles. Workhorse’s hybrid-electric delivery trucks can deliver up to 400% of the fuel economy of a gasoline-powered vehicle, compared to a 10-15% improvement with previous hybrid designs,” according to Steve Burns, CEO of Workhorse Group.
The trucks will be deployed in Arizona, Texas, Nevada, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida in the first half of 2016.
The new Workhorse walk-in van is a 16,000- to 19,500-pound-GVWR hybrid-electric delivery vehicle, featuring a choice of wheelbases from 157 to 208 inches. It includes the truckmaker’s new narrow-track W-88 chassis with E-GEN drivetrain. Two 60kWh battery packs provide power to the TM4 Sumo Electric motor/generator, built with nearly 6,000 Panasonic lithium-ion cells — the same type of cells used in Tesla’s electric cars.
The truck is patent-pending and Environmental Protection Agency approved and, according to Workhorse, is powerful enough to eliminate the need for a transmission.
Also, if the battery state of charge falls below a predetermined level and the vehicle is in “park,” a 2.4L internal combustion engine automatically turns on and powers the motor to recharge the battery to its required level. The benefit: There is no need for drivers to look for the nearest recharging station while making deliveries — none is needed.
Additionally, one of the added perks of the new hybrid-electric trucks is the fact that they come direct from the OEM, with no additional upfitting required, adding no additional order-to-delivery time.
“These vehicles are a bridge to the delivery trucks of tomorrow,” said Mark Wallace, senior vice president, global engineering and sustainability at UPS. “This investment will help create and grow the market for ground-breaking alternative propulsion systems that reduce environmental impact, reduce operating costs and save fuel.”
The trucks were designed specifically to meet the stop-and-start needs of UPS’ urban delivery routes, along with the 2.4L engine and lithium-ion battery to deliver a 50- to 60-mile-per-day range.
The parcel delivery company is also collaborating with Workhorse to develop a more intelligent electric vehicle to determine when and where the batteries will be charged and re-charged. The initiative is part of UPS’ Rolling Laboratory, a cutting-edge approach to optimizing the use of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles.
According to Burns of Workhorse Group, “We are committed to finding the best solutions for both energy efficiency and emissions, and we believe our electric trucks can be part of the answer. If we can help UPS and other delivery companies reduce their fuel costs while maintaining their service, we’ve done our job. We are thrilled to work with UPS to develop and deliver innovative solutions to today’s transportation challenges.”