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UPS delivers zero emissions with hybrid delivery vehicles


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Transport Engineer  /  September 9, 2019

Parcel delivery business UPS has introduced a new line of range-extended electric vehicles (REEVs) to its fleets serving Birmingham and Southampton, describing it as “a big breakthrough” for its use of electric vehicles in the UK.

The hybrid-electric vehicles have a range of up to 400km, and can automatically switch to electric power when entering urban areas and clean air zones.

The vehicles were developed in conjunction with Tevva Motors and part-funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and Innovate UK. They form part of UPS’s ‘rolling laboratory’ strategy to develop a variety of alternatively fuelled vehicles.

Ten REEVs have joined the UPS delivery fleet in its Tamworth depot and an additional five in Southampton. Both depots serve locations where the distance from the warehouse to the urban area served is high, and another factor is that Birmingham is set to introduce a clean air zone by 2020.

UPS says the current generation of 7.5-tonne electric delivery vehicles have an average range of 100km, which is often insufficient to reach urban drop-off points in cities such as Birmingham and Southampton. However, the new REEVs have an average combined power range of 400km, and can still operate with zero emissions within urban areas on the routes, using geofencing technology to switch to electric model at predetermined boundaries.

The bespoke REEV solution comprises a high-performance electric powertrain with an in-series hybrid combination, utilising a significantly smaller and efficient diesel engine that can provide additional range when needed.

The vehicles are equipped with a 150kW electric motor providing an electronically limited ability of up to 2,000Nm of torque. The powertrain is supported by a lithium-ion 74kWh battery, giving an operational EV range of at least 100km.

“Electrification of the medium-duty truck sector is inevitable, yet many firms and OEMs are still scratching their heads about how and when to make that happen,” says Richard Lidstone-Scott, commercial director for Tevva Motors.

“At Tevva, we already have viable technology, proven in real-world trials, which can help companies like UPS reduce emissions to almost zero without compromising their business-critical ability to carry full payloads. What’s more, we’re already working on new technologies to make our solution more efficient still.”

In 2018, UPS announced that it is working with UK-based technology firm Arrival to develop a pilot fleet of 35 electric delivery vehicles to be trialled in London and Paris. And, in December 2017, UPS ordered 125 fully electric semi-tractors to be built by Tesla, the largest pre-order to date.

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