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Today’s Pickup: UPS to add additional plug-in electric delivery trucks

An artist rendering of the new Workhorse plug-in electric vehicle that UPS will deploy this year for testing.

Good day,

UPS, already operating one of the world’s largest alternative fuel fleets, will add 50 plug-in electric delivery trucks from Workhorse Group to its fleet. The package delivery giant said the trucks will be comparable in acquisition cost to conventional-fueled trucks without any subsidies.

“Electric vehicle technology is rapidly improving with battery, charging and smart grid advances that allow us to specify our delivery vehicles to eliminate emissions, noise and dependence on diesel and gasoline,” said Carlton Rose, president, Global Fleet Maintenance and Engineering for UPS. “With our scale and real-world duty cycles, these new electric trucks will be a quantum leap forward for the purpose-built UPS delivery fleet. The all electric trucks will deliver by day and re-charge overnight. We are uniquely positioned to work with our partners, communities and customers to transform freight transportation.” 

The zero-emission trucks will have a range of approximately 100 miles between charges and will feature a cab forward design to optimize the driver compartment and cargo area, increasing efficiency and reducing vehicle weight. The new trucks will join the company’s Rolling Lab, a growing fleet of more than 9,000 alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles.   

“This innovation is the result of Workhorse working closely with UPS over the last 4 years refining our electric vehicles with hard fought lessons from millions of road miles and thousands of packages delivered,” said Steve Burns, CEO of Workhorse Group. “Our goal is to make it easy for UPS and others to go electric by removing prior roadblocks to large scale acceptance such as cost.” 

UPS will test the vehicles primarily on urban routes across the country, including Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles.

UPS expects to work with Workhorse to fine-tune the design before launching a larger fleet of vehicles in 2019. The firm expects to also save money on maintenance due to fewer engine components.

UPS has approximately 35,000 diesel or gasoline trucks in its fleet that are comparable in size and are used in routes with duty cycles, or daily miles traveled similar to the new electric vehicles. The company has started it wants to deploy electric vehicles where appropriate.

Did you know?

According to a Quinnipiac University poll, 46% of Americans are in favor of a fuel tax increase to pay for infrastructure and 44% opposed. When asked which party would better manage funding, 43% said Democrats and 43% Republicans.


“We are pleased to add the Cargomatic platform as an extension of G&W’s rail service at terminal and transload locations across G&W’s US rail network and to work with the Cargomatic team as they expand internationally to Europe and Australia. By extending our first and last mile service offering, Cargomatic not only improves the efficiency of first and last mile logistics between rail and road, but it also simplifies the multimodal touchpoints for our customers.”

– Michael Miller, Genesee & Wyoming chief commerce officer, on the railways investment in Cargomatic, a digital freight matching platform

In other news:

Brokers face uncertain future

The increasing transparency of the supply chain is putting pressure on brokers to adapt and learn new business models to compete. (The Loadstar)

Rail group invests in digital freight platform

Genesee & Wyoming has invested in digital freight matching platform Cargomatic as it seeks to bolster last-mile efficiency. (Railway Gazette)

Robotics company raises $20M for online grocery warehouses

CommonSense Robotics has raised $20 million in venture capital to launch its warehouse robots design to fulfill online grocery orders. (DC Velocity)

Americans split on fuel tax increase

A Quinnipiac University poll founds that not all Americans are in favor a fuel tax increase and conservative groups are lining up in opposition. (Transport Topics)

British firm building liquid nitrogen diesel engine

British engineering company Ricardo is working to develop a liquid nitrogen powered diesel engine for commercial trucks. (

Final Thoughts

The idea of a fuel tax increase to pay for infrastructure is not bringing the country together, according to new polling by Quinnipiac University. The school found that 46% of people favored the increase and 44% opposed it. Meanwhile, conservative groups are lining up resources to fight any proposal, and some Republicans are also opposed to the idea, meaning that any meaningful funding mechanism may have to come another way.  

Hammer down everyone!

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.