UPS Fleet Hybrid Delivery Trucks and CNG

UPS delivers 15 million packages per day in over 200 countries. UPS has over 100,000 vehicles and 600 airplanes. UPS employs over 400,000 people. UPS is the ninth largest airline on the planet. They are experts at reducing the cost and fuel usage of moving millions of packages. 1,500 of those vehicles use alternative fuel, savings millions of gallons of oil and lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Since 2000, UPS alternative-fuel vehicles have logged 108 million route miles — enough to circle the Earth more than 4,300 times. These 1,500 vehicles run on natural gas, propane and hydrogen.

UPS Hydraulic Hybrid TruckUPS has one of the largest private fleets of CNG vehicles in the U.S. with 808 operating in the United States, Germany, Brazil and France. UPS began extensively testing CNG in 1989 to assess its benefits and viability as an alternative fuel. The results have been impressive: particulate emissions are 95 percent lower than with diesel engines; carbon monoxide emissions are 75 percent lower; and emissions of nitrogen oxides are 49 percent lower. 11 liquefied natural gas (LNG) tractors operate in the UPS West Coast fleet, hauling more than 31,000 packages a day. Because of its density, LNG is a viable alternative fuel source for large trucks that need to go long distances before stopping to refuel.

UPS has ordered 50 hybrid delivery trucks, which will reduce fuel consumption by 44,000 gallons per year. These will be diesel hybrids due to the efficiency of diesel engines. Hybrid technology is perfect for delivery vehicles because braking energy is stored in batteries and later feed to an electric motor, thereby reducing the size and fuel needed in a diesel engine. Delivery trucks make lots of stops and capture lots of braking energy. The trucks have 60 percent to 70 percent higher fuel efficiency and emit 40 percent less carbon dioxide than normal UPS delivery trucks. UPS invests an added $7,000 per truck for these fuel efficient hybrids, and saves over $7,000 in fuel in less than three years.

UPS demonstrated its hydraulic hybrid delivery vehicle at the South Coast Air Quality Management District in Diamond Bar, Calif. The unique UPS delivery vehicle uses hydraulic pumps and hydraulic storage tanks to store energy, similar to what is done with electric motors and batteries in hybrid electric vehicles. Fuel economy is increased in three ways: vehicle braking energy is recovered that normally is wasted; the engine is operated more efficiently; and the engine can be shut off when stopped or decelerating. The vehicle was designed with the support of the UPS, Eaton Corporation – Fluid Power, International Truck and Engine Corporation, U.S. Army – National Automotive Center, and Morgan-Olson.

“If every drayage truck and yard hostler in the ports adopted this technology, we could further reduce emissions by almost 50 percent,” said Matt Haber, air division deputy director, of the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “Southern California residents breathe the dirtiest air in the country and we all have to do our part to clean the air.”

UPS is going green to make more green – money. Fuel costs UPS over 2 billion dollars every year. Their approach to saving fuel is not based on one big technology breakthrough. Rather, it is based upon hundreds of smart decisions. For example, USP designed delivery routes to minimize left turns because turning across traffic is not only more dangerous, it requires longer idling time, wastes fuel and creates more congestion. The right-turn only approach saved UPS 3,000,000 gallons of fuel.

UPS has two hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in operation. UPS currently operates one DaimlerChrysler Sprinter fuel cell van in Ontario, California and one in Ann Arbor, Michigan The EPA provides a hydrogen refueling station at its national fuel emissions laboratory in Ann Arbor, Michigan In California, UPS gets its hydrogen fuel from a station in the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

The company is working to develop future generations of delivery vehicles that reduce dependence on fossil fuels, significantly reduce fuel consumption and create a vehicle platform to bridge to the hydrogen economy. Some of these efforts include:

  • 21st Century Truck Partnership – In this government-industry partnership, federal agencies and the transportation/trucking industry are working together on technologies to make vehicles safer, cleaner and more efficient, while maintaining fleet safety and cost-effectiveness.
  • EPA SmartWay Transport Program – This voluntary partnership with leading members of America’s truck and rail transport sectors aims to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from ground freight carriers. The goal of this initiative by 2012 is to reduce 18 million tons of carbon and 200,000 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx) annually. These reductions will create fuel savings of up to 150 million barrels of oil annually.
  • Clean Cargo & Green Freight – UPS is an active member of Business for Social Responsibility’s Green Freight working group. Together with the Clean Cargo group, Green Freight is developing voluntary environmental guidelines to enhance fleets’ performances while spurring a broader movement toward a sustainable transportation future.
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About Author: John Addison

Founder of the Clean Fleet Report, author of Save Gas, Save the Planet. John writes about electric cars, renewable energy, and sustainability.

3 thoughts on “UPS Fleet Hybrid Delivery Trucks and CNG

  1. Alan Brummet
    November 26, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    I applaud you on your commitment to use alternative fuel sources and vehicles,a lot of companies,evern the government are afraid to try theses aproches.
    I would like to do my part and drive a smaller more fuel efficient car .I was watching one of your adds the new logistic adds,it looks like it was filmed in Italy, this UPS car was just what I was looking for,it was so small I don’t know how the driver got in,he sat right over the rear wheels and his back was almost against the back of the car,I’ve tried to find this car on the net but none are like this one like the big space from the top of the rear wheel to the undercarrage,the others don’t have this ,I just need to know who the maker is and can it be ourchased in the USA,If you could respond I would be greatful,by the way I always use UPS for personal and business deliveries.
    Thank you very much.Alan

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