Shipping giant UPS has slowly been adding electric vehicles to its fleet of delivery trucks, with 300 already doing the rounds in the US and Europe and an order for 125 Tesla Semis placed in December last year. But a new partnership with EV-builder Workhorse sees it get in on the ground floor, with the pair to build zero-emission plug-in vehicles from scratch at a cost comparable to its conventionally fueled trucks.
UPS hasn't been afraid to think outside the square when it comes to streamlining its delivery processes, and not just when it comes to emissions. In addition to testing the waters with electric trucks and delivery e-bikes, it is also working on trucks that launch drones from their roof to cover the last leg, a project that Workhorse was also involved in.
Workhorse too has a number of future-facing electric vehicle concepts in the pipeline, including drones, a range-extended pickup truck, a flying taxi and also a delivery van that launches drones from the roof.
But the new partnership will have it work with UPS to build a new electric truck from the ground, up tailored specifically to its purposes. It says the resulting trucks will have a range of 100 miles (160 km), suitable for carting goods around cities while creating zero emissions and minimal noise.
"With our scale and real-world duty cycles, these new electric trucks will be a quantum leap forward for the purpose-built UPS delivery fleet," said Carlton Rose, President, Global Fleet Maintenance and Engineering for UPS. "The all electric trucks will deliver by day and re-charge overnight."
The trucks will be put to the test along urban routes in the US, and the design will then be fine-tuned ahead of a larger deployment in 2019.
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