The Lockwood Report

May 4, 2016 Vol. 13 No. 9

You could be forgiven for thinking that the electric hybrid powertrain idea, like other alternative fuel efforts, had all but died in the onslaught of cheap natural gas. Injured, yes, for sure. But not dead if one of the world’s biggest fleets has anything to do with it..

With a new twist engineered by giant UPS and the tiny little Workhorse Group, the electric hybrid is looking better than ever.

UPS announced earlier this week that it was updating 125 hybrid electric package vans that it bought from Workhorse last September, as part of the company’s broader Rolling Laboratory approach to alt fuels.     

A compact, quiet-running 2-cylinder internal combustion engine (ICE) replaces a prior 4-cylinder engine to extend their range, improve performance and fuel efficiency. The updated trucks deliver significant fuel economy equivalency gains – up to four times the fuel economy of a gasoline-powered vehicle. The original 4-banger offered a 10 to 15% improvement over previous hybrid designs. The ICE can run on gasoline, propane, or CNG.

The trucks will be deployed in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Nevada, Ohio, and Texas later this year.