COMPETITION WATCH: UPS expands `Green Fleet’

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ATLANTA, Ga.–UPS has placed an order for 50 new-generation hybrid electric delivery trucks and also will acquire 4,100 low-emission conventional vehicles during 2006.

The hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) are being purchased in two sizes from International Truck and Engine and Freightliner LLC.

The trucks will feature lithium ion batteries that are capable of faster re-charging and have a longer life than batteries used in previous generations of HEVs.

The truck bodies will be identical externally to the signature-brown trucks that now comprise the UPS fleet.

The first of the 50 HEVs will be deployed in Dallas this June and will join more than 10,000 low emission and alternative-fuel vehicles already in use.

The UPS alternative fuel fleet — at 1,500 vehicles one of the largest in the United States — currently includes trucks powered by compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, propane, electricity and hydrogen. Research also is underway with the Environmental Protection Agency on a hydraulic hybrid drivetrain.

“We’re excited to be among the first to deploy this latest in HEV technology because it promises a 35% increase in fuel economy in addition to a dramatic decrease in vehicle emissions,” said Robert Hall, UPS’s fleet environmental manager.

“UPS has been involved in HEV research for more than eight years, but that’s just one part of a multifaceted strategy to reduce fuel dependency, cut greenhouse emissions and in the long run, reduce operating costs.”

The 50 HEV delivery trucks collectively are expected to reduce fuel consumption by roughly 44,000 gallons over the course of a year compared to a normal diesel truck, says the company.

The hybrids also should reduce by 457 metric tons the amount of CO2 gases released into the atmosphere over the course of a year. The 4,100 low emission vehicles offer a 15 percent improvement in fuel economy over the vehicles that will be retired, says UPS. These vehicles are expected to save roughly 1.5 million gallons of fuel over the course of a year, emitting 16,000 fewer tons of CO2.

The majority of the 4,100 low-emission vehicle chassis to be purchased in 2006 will be made by Freightliner LLC and will enter the UPS fleet throughout the year, allowing the retirement of older trucks.

“Our long-term goal is to minimize dependence on fossil fuels, and we will get there by deploying a wide variety of new automotive technologies in our fleet,” Hall said.

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