Alternative fuel vehicles shape future deliveries

Emerging and sustainable technologies to meet customer needs today and in the future
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As the logistics industry faces the challenge of increasing demand from e-commerce, UPS is reimagining its network through an innovation-driven strategy that includes electric ground and air vehicles, cleaner-burning fuel and climate-conscious facilities.

UPS deploys more than 13,000 low-emission vehicles around the world. And UPS drivers log more than a million miles every business day in alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles.

One example is the eco-truck.

These trucks, which are only permitted in 18 countries, are a vital part of UPS’s initiative to shrink its carbon footprint while increasing efficiency. Eco-trucks carry larger loads than a standard delivery truck and reduce CO2 emissions by consuming less fuel.

In addition to the environmental benefits, these fuel-efficient vehicles help the company boost safety on the road, ease congestion and address driver shortages.

UPS also recently made a commitment to purchase more than 250 million gallon equivalents of renewable natural gas (RNG) over the next several years, making it the largest consumer of RNG in the transportation industry.

The company understands sustainability begins with a commitment to deliver great service to customers and that includes delivering more sustainable solutions that help reduce climate impacts across customer supply chains around the world.

These solutions include the Fernhay eQuad which will debut this year at Expo 2020 Dubai. Less than three feet wide, the four-wheeled electric-assist cycle caters to complex urban deliveries, allowing the driver to easily move through congested narrow streets and pedal in bike/cycle lanes. UPS’s use of eQuads complements its three-wheeled Rytle eBikes which are used to navigate bustling dense urban areas around the world.

Embracing emerging and evolving technologies is key to keeping up with changing market needs and customer expectations of faster delivery.

Recently, UPS and its UPS Flight Forward subsidiary announced plans to purchase electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft from Beta Technologies (BETA) to augment air service for select small and mid-size markets. These aircraft will take off and land on property at UPS facilities in a whisper-quiet fashion, reducing transit time, vehicle emissions and operating cost.

Use of eVTOLs will benefit healthcare providers, thousands of small and medium-sized businesses and other companies in smaller communities. The aircraft’s 250-mile range and cruising speed of up to 170 miles per hour will enable a series of short routes, or one long route, on a single charge.

“This is all about innovation with a focus on returns for our business, our customers and the environment,” said Juan Perez, UPS chief information and engineering officer. “These new aircraft will create efficiencies in our business, open possibilities for new services, and serve as a foundation for future sustainable solutions.”

Drones and eVTOL aircraft complement UPS’s ground vehicles. Over the past decade, the company has invested more than $1 billion in alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and fueling stations. Future plans include a commitment to purchase up to 10,000 all-electric Arrival delivery vehicles in North America and Europe. 

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