UPS and Thor collaborate to test electric delivery trucks

  (Photo: Thor)

(Photo: Thor)

UPS (NYSE:UPS) today announced a collaboration with Thor Trucks, Inc. to develop and test a fully-electric class 6 delivery truck in Los Angeles.

“UPS has shown leadership in alternative fuel for over a decade. Aside from being able to put vehicles to work and get valuable feedback, UPS itself has a substantial engineering team and can apply decades of lessons learned to our vehicle development,” Dakota Semler, Co-founder & CEO, writes to FreightWaves by email.

“We’re excited about working with a forward-thinking company like UPS, particularly as our first collaboration,” said Semler. “UPS is committed to sustainability and operates one of the most well-respected and complex fleets in the country. This is also an incredibly valuable opportunity to gain insight into what it will take to fulfill our mission of getting entire electric fleets on the road.”

UPS continues to work with a range of companies to test and deploy promising alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles that will help it meet its sustainability goals. Electric vehicles, and the charging infrastructure needed to support them, play a critical role in UPS’s vision for its fleet of the future. The Thor electric delivery truck will have a driving range of approximately 100 miles powered by a Thor-designed and built battery that will be lightweight, durable and allow long-range driving distances.

“UPS believes in the future of commercial electric vehicles. We want to support the research needed to make advances and the companies developing those innovative products,” said Carlton Rose, president of global fleet maintenance and engineering for UPS. “Performance is critical in our fleet. We are excited to get this vehicle on the road to test how it handles routes in and around Los Angeles.”

For six months, UPS will test the medium-duty electric delivery truck as part of its fleet. Testing will include off-road evaluation to address durability, battery capacity, technical integration, engineering and any items found during on-road testing. Depending on the success of the deployment, UPS may make additional purchases of the electric vehicle.

UPS continues to expand its use of electric vehicles and works with a wide array of manufacturers including ARRIVAL, Daimler, Tesla, Thor, Workhorse and others. Using its “Rolling Laboratory” approach, UPS deploys about 9,300 low-emission vehicles to determine which technology works best in each route configuration. This includes all-electric, hybrid electric, hydraulic hybrid, ethanol, compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG) and propane.

“UPS also has global reach and understands the value of short-range electric vehicles in the hundreds of markets they serve,” writes Semler. “This all ties back to Thor’s focus on applications of trucking where electric technology knocks it out of the park. A few points on how/why we see our trucks being successful in fleets:

· Fleets that have predictable routes, and company like UPS knows them like the back of their hands.

· Short and medium ranges minimize the amount of batteries a vehicle needs.

· Vehicles that do a lot of starts and stops benefit from an electric powertrain and the region provided.

· Electric vehicles can stay on when the vehicle isn’t moving (like when a package is being delivered) without burning fuel."

Testing will begin before the end of the year, and the vehicles are going through internal testing now, according to Semler.

For six months, UPS will test the medium-duty electric delivery truck as part of its fleet. Testing will include off-road evaluation to address durability, battery capacity, technical integration, engineering and any items found during on-road testing. Depending on the success of the deployment, UPS may make additional purchases of the electric vehicle. The test vehicle will be deployed in the Los Angeles metro area.

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