Hybrid Electric Vehicles Join UPS Fleet in Austin

Currently, 50 UPS hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) operate in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Phoenix. The 30 trucks deployed here are part of 200 new HEVs deployed recently to eight U.S. cities. They join the roughly 20,000 low-emission and alternative-fuel vehicles already in use by UPS. The 200 new trucks will operate in Austin, Houston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Long Island, Minneapolis and Louisville.

The 200 new HEV package cars are expected to reduce fuel consumption by roughly 176,000 gallons over the course of a year compared to an equivalent number of traditional diesel trucks. The hybrids also should reduce by 1,786 metric tonnes the amount of CO2 gases released annually into the atmosphere. Since 2000, UPS’s fleet of alternative-fuel vehicles has traveled more than 165 million miles.

The UPS alternative fuel fleet utilizes multiple technologies, including compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, propane, electricity and hydraulic hybrid technology. These green vehicles provide the “last mile” of service to deliver packages in the most environmentally sustainable way possible. The alternative fuel fleet, however, is just one part of UPS’s larger sustainability program.

UPS provides its delivery services through an integrated network, meaning it uses only one vehicle to deliver all types of packages going to the same address. And unlike other competitors, UPS has developed a network that can leverage all modes of transportation from rail to truck to aircraft, optimizing package routes and improving fuel efficiency.

“We’re proud of this large HEV deployment to major cities in the United States,” said Bob Stoffel, UPS senior vice president of supply chain, strategy, engineering and sustainability. “Collectively, this new HEV fleet can yield a 35 percent fuel savings, the equivalent of what’s used in a year to power 100 conventional delivery vehicles.”

The new hybrid power system utilizes a conventional diesel engine combined with a battery pack, saving fuel and reducing pollution-causing emissions. The small diesel is used to recharge the battery pack and to add power when necessary.

HEVs use regenerative braking. The energy generated from applying the brakes is captured and returned to the battery as electricity. The combination of clean diesel power and electric power, supplemented by regenerative braking, allows dramatic improvements in fuel savings and emissions reductions.

The HEVs use a Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation body and a hybrid power system from Eaton Corporation. The external truck bodies are identical to UPS’s other signature brown trucks, although they feature additional labeling identifying them as hybrid electrics. The trucks use lithium ion batteries, which offer a faster re-charging capability and last longer than previous generation HEV batteries. Additionally, these vehicles are much quieter than conventional UPS trucks.

UPS was the first package delivery company to introduce a HEV into daily operations with a research program it launched in early 1998. In 2001, the company deployed the industry’s first hybrid electric package car into regular service in Huntsville, Ala., where the truck worked a 31-mile route with about 160 pickups and deliveries each day. UPS then introduced its second generation HEV to its Kalamazoo, Mich., fleet in 2004, while at the same time deploying the first hydrogen fuel cell delivery trucks into regular service.

“The wide variety of technologies in our green fleet is indicative of UPS’s ‘rolling laboratory’ approach to energy efficiency and reduced fuel consumption,” Stoffel said. “Our goal is to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, but there is no silver bullet technology to achieve this. It will only happen by combining technology with logistics expertise to optimize the network’s performance.”

UPS (NYSE:UPS) pursues a wide range of socially responsible and sustainable business practices designed to reduce its impact on the environment and improve communities around the world. UPS operates one of the largest fleets of alternative fuel vehicles in its industry with more than 2,000 vehicles and continues to invest in alternative fuel technologies and operational efficiencies to reduce its carbon footprint. UPS is included in the Dow Jones and FTSE4Good Sustainability Indexes, which evaluate corporations based on economic, environmental and social criteria.