UPS partnering with Workhorse to develop fully electric Class 5 delivery truck

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Updated Feb 27, 2018
This artistic rendering of a plug-in electric delivery truck shows what the UPS newest delivery vehicle could look like.This artistic rendering of a plug-in electric delivery truck shows what the UPS newest delivery vehicle could look like.

UPS says it will deploy 50 plug-in electric delivery trucks and will collaborate with vehicle-maker Workhorse Group to design the vehicles from scratch.

Following real-world test deployments on urban routes across the country, including Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles, UPS and Workhorse expect to fine-tune the design in time to deploy a larger fleet next year.

UPS President of Global Fleet Maintenance and Engineering Carlton Rose says he expects the electric vehicles to be competitively priced with conventional-fueled trucks without subsidies.

“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,” he says, adding the all-electric trucks will deliver by day and re-charge overnight.

Workhorse claims the Class 5 vehicles will provide a nearly 400 percent fuel efficiency improvement and each will feature a range of approximately 100 miles between charges.

“This innovation is the result of Workhorse working closely with UPS over the last four years refining our electric vehicles with hard fought lessons from millions of road miles and thousands of packages delivered,” Workhorse Group CEO Steve Burns says. “Our goal is to make it easy for UPS and others to go electric by removing prior roadblocks to large scale acceptance such as cost.”

The new trucks will join the UPS’s “Rolling Lab” fleet of more than 9,000 alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles. UPS has more than 300 electric vehicles deployed in Europe and the U.S., and nearly 700 hybrid electric vehicles. The company in December ordered 125 new fully-electric Semi tractors to be built by Tesla in 2019, the largest pre-order to date. Last September, UPS announced it will become the first commercial customer in the U.S. to start using three Fuso eCanter medium-duty electric trucks.

UPS says its goal is to make the new electric vehicles a standard selection, where appropriate, in its fleet of the future. UPS has approximately 35,000 diesel or gasoline trucks in its fleet that are comparable in size and are used in routes with duty cycles, or daily miles traveled similar to the new electric vehicles.

Jason Cannon has written about trucking and transportation for more than a decade and serves as Chief Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. A Class A CDL holder, Jason is a graduate of the Porsche Sport Driving School, an honorary Duckmaster at The Peabody in Memphis, Tennessee, and a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Reach him at [email protected]