New York Helping UPS Convert Its Delivery Fleet To Electric Trucks


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.

UPS electric trucks coming

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.

About the Author

I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I'm interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.
  • kevin mccune

    Do we see this type of motor in other types of electric vehicles?

    • bioburner

      probably not. this type motor runs on DC. The “others” use AC. I’m thinking they selected this type because they are cheaper to build and you eliminate the inverter.

      • I don’t think so – DC motors require permanent magnets, and they wear out. I think it is an AC motor.

      • kevin mccune

        It seems AC makes for a simpler motor, you can make “AC” I know a lot of electric things depend on the rising and falling fields to EMF other ways, DC motors work very well ,all my battery powered stuff uses DC I suppose,I guess the commutator on brush motors “chops” the field.Faraday needs credit for being an early noter of the behaviour of electric fields in conductors.Some dogs take exception to certain trades , one of the things town dwellers noted was, that Dogs didn’t like the “Gas Men ” usually .

  • bioburner

    Would love to see these around here. Quieter. My dogs can hear those trucks from 2 blocks away and start barking.