UPS To Expand "Green Fleet" With 200 Hybrid Electric Vehicles

May 14, 2008 by Jeff Shepard

UPS announced that it has ordered 200 hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) – described as the largest commercial order of such trucks by any company – in addition to another 300 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles for its U.S. delivery fleet. The purchase of the 500 additional vehicles means the UPS alternative fuel fleet – said to already be the largest such private fleet in the United States – will grow 30% from 1,718 to 2,218 low-carbon vehicles.

UPS’s "green fleet" operates in the United States, Germany, France, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom and has traveled nearly 144 million miles since 2000. The fleet includes electric, hybrid electric, CNG, liquefied natural gas and propane-powered vehicles. The company also is continuing work with the Environmental Protection Agency on a hydraulic hybrid delivery vehicle.

The 200 hybrid electric vehicles will be deployed in 2009 and join 50 HEV delivery trucks already in operation. The 200 trucks are expected to save 176,000 gallons of fuel annually and reduce CO2 emissions by 1,786 metric tons each year. That is the equivalent of removing almost 100 conventional UPS trucks from the road for a year.

The HEVs also use what is known as regenerative braking, meaning the energy produced in stopping the moving vehicle is captured and returned to the battery system as electrical energy. The efficient, computer-controlled combination of clean diesel power, electric power and regenerative braking is said to produce dramatic improvements in fuel savings and emissions reductions.

The 300 CNG vehicles will be deployed later this year and join more than 800 such vehicles already in use in the United States. CNG vehicles run on natural gas. These vehicles are expected to yield a 20% reduction in emissions over the cleanest diesel engines available today.

The chassis for the CNG and HEV trucks are being purchased from Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp., with Eaton Corp. supplying the hybrid power system for the HEVs. The truck bodies are identical externally to the signature-brown trucks that now comprise the UPS fleet with additional script markings that will identify them as CNG and HEV vehicles.