- UPS has announced it will partner with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to develop new technology capable of converting standard UPS delivery trucks to electric from traditional diesel, a company press release announced.
- Unique Electric Solutions will design, build, test and make the conversions. The undertaking coincides with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s intent to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at least 40% by 2030, through the use of clean technology versus diesel fuel.
- NYSERDA will invest up to $500,000 to develop and test a conversion system. The project could produce a street-ready version of the converted truck as soon as the spring of 2018.
UPS has invested roughly $90 million dollars into its compressed natural gas (cng) program in order to reduce greenhouse gases, as well as add eight more solar panels to power selected company facilities. In Toronto, the company is now relying on cargo bikes to avoid contributing to the city's pollution problem.
The New York project furthers that objective, especially if the conversion proves successful enough to translate to the streets of Manhattan.
"Our project will continue to evolve as we get and then test our first vehicle on the road," Kristen A. Petrella, UPS Sustainability PR Manager told Supply Chain Dive.
The company understands that the testing phase could prove challenging.
"The technology needs to work in our application… that’s the first step. We will then be putting our vehicle’s durability through UPS’s strenuous duty cycle," Petrella said.
The method will be based on unique electric vehicle technology featuring a 225kW Switched Reluctance Motor (SRM) with a high voltage back bone optimized for the UPS delivery trucks. SRMs do not use magnets made from imported rare earth metals.
As well as producing a cost-effective diesel to electric conversion kit, the project will provide a new blueprint for converting as many as three UPS vehicles a day, leading to the ultimate conversion of nearly 1,500 UPS delivery vans, or 66% of UPS’s NYC fleet by 2022.
Though the process sounds arduous, if successful, it could make a world of difference in last mile delivery pollution reduction.