Soon the entire fleet of UPS trucks traveling in London, England will be powered solely by electricity. The company says this is the beginning of the end of its reliance on the internal combustion engine. UPS has said new charging technology has enabled it go ahead with plans to more than triple the number of electric vehicles it runs in London over the next few years, to 170. Camilla Hodgson reports in the FT:
“We certainly believe this to be groundbreaking,” said Peter Harris, director of sustainability at UPS Europe. The development will herald “a new generation of sustainable urban delivery services both here in London and in other major cities around the world”.
The company’s new “intelligent” charging technology works by spreading the same amount of electricity between vehicles more efficiently: although all can be plugged into charging points simultaneously, a computer will stagger which vehicles charge when.
Global carmakers and logistics companies have looked to invest in zero- or low-emission electric vehicles in recent years to comply with increasingly strict emissions targets, which aim to reduce pollution and improve air quality in cities.
In London, all new taxis must be capable of running solely on electric power, while UPS’s rival DHL has been ramping up its fleet of electric delivery vans since 2016.
Before this latest development, UPS’s central London site was restricted to using a maximum of 65 electric vehicles, because of the limits on how much electricity can flow into its charging depot, how much energy each car requires and the costs associated with upgrading.
This is believed to be the first time the technology, developed in partnership with UK Power Networks and Cross River Partnership, has been deployed at such scale.
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Jeremy Jones, CFA
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