UPS has rolled out 15 range-extended electric vehicles in Birmingham and Southampton to overcome the range limitations pure electric delivery vehicles face reaching depots or warehouses outside the city centres.
Luke Wake, director of automotive engineering and advanced technology at UPS International, said: “This is a big breakthrough for our continued use of electric vehicles in the UK – and for the communities we serve. The range jump from 100km to 400km is the result of UPS’s latest collaboration with Tevva. We can serve our customers with lower emission, alternatively-fuelled vehicles in places beyond the reach of existing pure electric vehicles at this weight class.”
Developed in collaboration with Essex-based manufacturer Tevva Motors, the converted Mercedes-Benz Varios use hybrid technology controlled by a geofencing system. This enables the vehicle to switch to pure electric operation in inner city areas where the boundary of a clean air zone may start, for example, and back to range-extended mode on motorways where a small on-board diesel generator is used to charge the batteries.
The 23cu m cargo volume of the trucks is the same as traditional diesel vehicles in the same weight class, enabling operators to reduce emissions without losing critical payload. Its larger capacity can also prevent the need for multiple journeys by smaller zero-emission vehicles, said UPS, which helps tackle the issue of congestion in urban areas.
Richard Lidstone-Scott, commercial director of Tevva Motors, said: “Commercial vehicles account for 27% of transport-related CO2 and 5% of total greenhouse gas emissions on Europe’s roads. EU legislation says this needs to be cut by 15% by 2025 and 30% by 2030, and net zero in the UK by 2050. This means that the electrification of the medium-duty truck sector is inevitable, yet many firms and OEMs are still scratching their heads about how and when to make that happen.
“At Tevva we have viable technology, proven in real-world trials, which can help companies like UPS reduce emissions to almost zero without compromising their business-critical ability to carry full payloads. What’s more, we’re working on technologies to make our solution even more efficient.”
The vehicles were part-funded by The Office for Low Emission Vehicles and Innovate UK and form part of UPS’s “rolling laboratory” strategy to develop a variety of alternative fuel vehicles for different applications.
Freight in the City is the must-attend event for anyone involved in making urban logistics cleaner, safer, quieter or more efficient. This free event is taking place at Alexandra Palace, London on 6 November. Click here for more information and to get your free tickets.