UPS, in partnership with start-up Tevva, has added 15 new hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) to its UK fleet, capable of switching autonomously between electric and diesel power.
The vehicles can reach up to 250 miles using their combined power sources, as opposed to fully electric vehicles which max out at about 60 miles. This allows fewer trips to be made and for the hybrids to make some that electric vehicles couldn’t.
It can also switch between modes to comply with local bylaws or low emission zones in congested city centres, using “geofencing”, where the vehicle’s GPS responds to virtual boundaries.
UPS is deploying the hybrids to Southampton and Birmingham initially. Birmingham is due to introduce a low emissions zone next year.
Earlier this year, Carlton Rose, UPS’ president of global fleet maintenance and engineering, said that range had been a big issue for the company when it came to electric vehicles, and that while UPS was an early adopter of innovative technologies, it was waiting for more options from enterprising third parties.
Other options include natural gas vehicles. In May UPS agreed to buy the equivalent of 170 million gallons of renewable natural gas (RNG) over the next seven years.
Header image: Marc Sendra Martorell