UPS has now deployed 100 new electric-powered delivery trucks in California, in one of the largest-ever single deployments of the technology.
The Atlanta-based integrator ordered the walk-in delivery trucks from California-based manufacturer Electric Vehicles International back in August 2011, after working with the firm for two years on development and trials.
UPS first trialled the EVI vehicles in a 90-day test in the fall of 2010, deploying six of the vehicles in the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys last year.
The new vehicles have a top speed of about 65mph and a range of about 75 miles on a single charge, and will primarily be used to deliver packages to customers across the state, in Sacramento, Ceres, Fresno, Bakersfield and San Bernardino.
The trucks generate no climate change emissions at the tailpipe, cutting air pollution, and will also see UPS reducing fuel consumption by 126,000 gallons per year.
The vehicles have received public funding support as part of efforts by the state of 38m population to reduce air pollution and tackle climate change.
California Governor Jerry Brown signed an executive order last year pledging to have 1.5m electric vehicles on the state’s roads by 2025, along with plans to develop the necessary supporting charging infrastructure.
The order seeks to cut the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels. Transport currently accounts for about 40% of California’s total emissions.
Governor Brown said the new UPS vehicles will be built in California – at EVI’s Stockton factory – underpinning the state’s role as a “dynamic centre of innovation”.
“These trucks will be built here, they’ll be driven here and they’re already changing the way business is done here – cutting emissions and eliminating the need for tanker trucks worth of fossil fuels,” he said.
UPS said the new vehicles joined its fleet of 2,500 alternative drive vehicles across the world, which includes hybrid, electric and natural gas technologies.
Myron Gray, the president of US operations for UPS, said: “We use our technology and logistics expertise to reduce emissions around the world and help test new automotive technologies.”
The UPS electric vehicle project has received funding support from organisations including local and state air quality authorities, the California Energy Commission and the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Jared Blumenfeld, the EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest, said funding the project was about supporting a “rapid deployment” of electric vehicles as a “means of cleaning the air, creating jobs and spurring innovation”.
He said: “California’s communities will benefit from both the local manufacturing of these UPS electric trucks and from the resulting elimination of harmful diesel emissions.”