18 Jun 18

UPS commits to buy 1,000 electric delivery vehicles

Logistics giant UPS has entered a binding agreement to purchase 1,000 electric delivery vehicles from the US manufacturer, Workhorse, provided the light commercial vehicles pass operational trials.

The van is officially called the Workhorse Next Generation all-electric vehicle (NGEV), and is being designed ‘from the ground up’ in collaboration with UPS. Workhorse claims the vehicle will have a range of 100 miles (160km) between charges.

Cost parity with ICEs

Importantly, the acquisition cost of the zero-emission vehicles will be comparable to traditional internal combustion engine vans without any subsidies.

UPS plans to deploy 50 proto-type plug-in NGEVs in an initial trial, “in a variety of routes and geographic regions,” including Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles, USA. The courier firm will also evaluate the vans under various climate and weather conditions.

The test vehicles must pass UPS’s “durability testing and all vehicle requirements… as part of the test fleet deployment.”

In a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Workhorse revealed that if UPS does not consider the trial to be a success it is free to reduce or cancel the rest of the 950-NGEV order.

EV advances

Announcing the initial 50-vehicle trial Carlton Rose, president, global fleet maintenance and engineering for UPS, said, “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.

“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.”

UPS expects the operating cost of the NGEV to be less than a similarly equipped diesel or petrol vehicle in real-world driving conditions, due in part to lower maintenance costs. It has collaborated with Workhorse for the past four years on the design of the vehicle, and the two companies will continue to fine-tune the design prior to the bulk of the order being manufactured and deployed in 2019 and beyond.

Steve Burns, chief executive officer of Workhorse Group, said, “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.”

Possibility for 35,000 NGEVs 

The potential for the supply agreement is vast, given UPS’s long-term ambition to make the new electric vehicles a standard selection for its fleet, where appropriate. The company currently runs 35,000 diesel or petrol vehicles that are comparable in size to the NGEV and which cover similar daily mileages.

UPS already operates more than 300 electric vehicles and nearly 700 hybrids, as well as vehicles powered by compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas and propane.

UPS's zero emission commitment

By 2020 its goal is to have at least one in four of every new vehicle purchased to be powered by an alternative fuel or advanced technology vehicle. It has also made a commitment to source 25% of the electricity it consumes from renewable energy sources by 2025.

In addition, UPS is electrifying some of its heavy commercial vehicles, having placed an order for 125 fully-electric Tesla Semi tractors and three medium-duty Fuso eCanter electric trucks, made by Daimler Trucks.


Authored by: Jonathan Manning