UPS to trial range-extended electric vehicle on London operation

UPS has launched its first range-extended electric delivery vehicle for initial trials in the UK, developed in collaboration with TEVVA Motors.

Range-extending technology allows electric vehicles to go further, serving routes that would otherwise be beyond the capability of a conventional electric vehicle.

Since June 2014, UPS has worked with TEVVA Motors to develop a prototype, as part of the global courier’s focus on alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles.

A small, highly-efficient diesel engine acts as a generator to recharge the batteries if they become depleted out on the road. This significantly increases the range of the vehicle, potentially by several hundred kilometres, on top of its normal range of 75km to 100 km without range extension.

“With around 5,800 alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles worldwide, sustainability is more than a practice at UPS, it’s a value. This vehicle highlights our commitment to integrating new technologies into our delivery fleet,” says Peter Harris, sustainability director, UPS Europe. “Finding the best, most responsible fleet solutions to suit our business and serve our customers is an important part of our sustainability strategy.”

Through its rolling laboratory UPS said it is is constantly evaluating and experimenting which alternatives offer a sustainable way of making deliveries in various scenarios, such as urban centres or long-range deliveries.

As people move from rural to urban areas, UPS is looking at ways to reduce vehicles’ contribution to congestion, noise and air pollution. Geo-fencing technology installed in this vehicle means it will operate in a purely electric capacity in urban areas to reduce the impact on air quality. Should additional power to the batteries be required, telemetry technology ensures that the range-extending diesel motor operates where the impact on air quality will be minimal, such as on the motorway.

The range-extended electric vehicle will first be deployed in Barking, East London. It will operate in a suburban environment, covering about 100km to 150km per day. The prototype will initially run for 12 months to assess the potential for the vehicle to be used more widely in UPS operations.

UPS highlighted a number of the sustainable urban logistics inititiatives it has in place in cities across the world in its latest sustainability strategy.