UPS has introduced a new line of range-extended electric vehicles (REEVs) to its fleets serving Birmingham and Southampton, UK, to overcome the range limitations of pure EVs within the logistics industry.
The new REEVs use hybrid-electric powertrain technology, which increases route range from 100km to 400km while maintaining the cargo capacity of conventional diesel-powered vehicles of the same weight class.
The range jump is the result of UPS’s latest collaboration with EV specialist Tevva Motors. According to UPS, this will now enable its delivery vehicles to comfortably reach its warehouses and depots based outside city centres and urban drop off points.
“This is a big breakthrough for our continued use of electric vehicles in the UK – and for the communities we serve,” said Luke Wake, director of automotive engineering and advanced technology, UPS International. “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.”
Part-funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and Innovate UK, the REEVs use geofencing technology to automatically switch to all-electric mode when reaching a predetermined boundary, such as prior to entering an urban environment or zero-emission clean air zone. This technology also allows the vehicle to switch to the on-board range extender, which utilises a small diesel engine to recharge the battery.
Since 2009, UPS has invested more than US$1bn in alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and fuelling stations globally. “But news like this really brings home the evolution of our rolling laboratory,” said Wake. “You can now actually see progress like this out on the roads in and out of Birmingham and Southampton.”
The REEVs should also help to reduce congestion on roads due to their 23m³ cubic capacity maintaining the operational efficiency of high-volume package delivery vehicles and thus negating the need for greater number of smaller capacity EVs carrying the same number of packages.