UPS converts 33 diesel vans to electric and hybrid

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UPS is expanding its low emission fleet in Germany as part of the ZUKUNFT project funded by the government by retrofitting a further 33 diesel vehicles. 15 will be pure electric, and the remaining 18 will be plug-in hybrid vehicles.

To electrify the fleet, the logistics operator builds on small companies that can deliver what UPS needs. Luke Wake, Director of the Automotive Engineering & Advanced Technology Group at UPS, explains “our operation is well suited to electric vehicle technologies, but the lack of vehicle availability remains frustrating”.

In the current case, the plug-in hybrid drive comes from the Lithuanian company Elinta and is installed in UPS vehicles in Germany by the car manufacturer Sommer. The German company EFA-S is retrofitting the purely electrically powered vehicles.

Of the 33 vehicles, 15 will be powered purely by electricity, while the remaining 18 will be plug-in hybrid vehicles. UPS is already using two of the hybrid cars in Hanover, the remaining 16 in Bielefeld, Frankfurt and Nuremberg. The electric vehicle conversions will initially go to Düsseldorf and Frankfurt/Main, with further cities to follow.

For UPS the conversions are also to “demonstrate that the technology already exists, that it is real, that it works and that we want to promote the mass introduction of commercial electric vehicles on the market”. The company reckons it will save 200 tons of carbon dioxide per year by adding the 33 electric vehicles.

It is also not the first time UPS has turned out a pilot. Apart from the German ZUKUNFT project, the operators also rolled out 15 electric vans with range extenders in Great Britain together with the small manufacturer Tevva Motors. Besides, in the US, they signed Thor to develop an electric delivery truck. The custom UPS transporter is fitted with Thor’s lightweight batteries, which claim a range of 160 km on a single charge.

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