With help from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, UPS is planning to convert many of its diesel powered delivery vans (UPS calls them “package cars”) into battery electric trucks beginning as soon as next spring. UPS currently has more than 2,200 trucks plying the streets of New York City. It expects 1,500 of them be electric by 2022.
The program is part of the governor’s program to reduce greenhouse gases within New York by 40% by the year 2030. Alicia Barton, president and CEO of NYSERDA said in a press release, “This project is a prime example of the State’s investment in new and innovative technology that can help us meet Governor Cuomo’s nation-leading clean energy goals. I applaud UPS and Unique Electric Solutions for their leadership in developing this system that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and has tremendous potential to be used by the entire delivery industry.”
“Public-private partnerships help push innovation forward and transform industries,” said Carlton Rose, president of global fleet maintenance and engineering for UPS. “This program will help UPS develop and deploy electric delivery trucks faster and more affordably. Because they are cleaner and quieter, electric vehicles are ideal for dense urban environments like New York City and are a critical part of our strategy for the future.”
NYSERDA will provide $500,000 in funding. The money will be used to pay for the development of an electric drivetrain provided by Unique Electric Solutions and to begin the conversion process. At the heart of the drivetrain is a 225 kW switched reluctance motor (SRM) with a high voltage back bone optimized for the duty cycle of UPS delivery trucks. It says its motors are simpler, cheaper and better suited to use in electric vehicles than conventional induction motors. In addition, they do not use the rare earth elements found in permanent magnet motors. The company claims is propulsion system provides more miles per battery charge, reduced charging times, and up to 20% greater efficiency.
Efficiency plays a vital role in making UPS profitable. So does being a good corporate citizen. The company has more than 8,500 alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles in its fleet worldwide, including 770 electric or hybrid electric vehicles that are used primarily in urban settings. The company says by the year 2020, a quarter of all the new vehicles it purchases every year will use alternative fuels or advanced propulsion technology. It has invested more than $750 million in alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles — including fueling stations for alternative fuels — since 2009.