Carlton Rose, UPS’ president of global fleet maintenance and engineering, told the Green Truck Summit in Indianapolis that UPS is looking into electric solutions for commercial vehicles, but that they are not yet the ideal solution.
“Commercial electric trucks are still a work in progress,” he said. “On our electric fleet, range has certainly been an issue. If you have a vehicle with a 100-mile range, you can’t send a driver out 51 miles because he won’t get back.”
Rose acknowledged that growing urban populations and the ascendance of e-commerce are contributing vastly to greenhouse gas emissions, 23% of which are currently attributable to heavy- and medium-duty trucks.
But he said that this is driving change within the industry, and that UPS is an early adopter of innovative technologies including the Tesla Semi.
“Our goal is to get original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) entering the market and when Tesla came in, other OEMs started jumping in and that’s what we want, options,” he said.
Electric truck innovations have advanced battery technology and charging infrastructure, as well as co-ordination between different industry bodies. Rose believes that electric is likely to become the dominant alternative to fossil fuels.
However, as electric vehicles have yet to achieve widespread adoption, UPS is also looking into other options such as natural gas vehicles, of which it currently owns 6,000.