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UPS to Test Electric Delivery Vehicles in London and Paris

UPS is working with U.K.-based technology firm Arrival to develop a pilot fleet of 35 electric delivery vehicles (EVs), to be tested in London and Paris, as part of its carbon emission-reduction strategy.

The zero-tailpipe-emission, lightweight composite vehicles have a battery range of more than 150 miles, which UPS noted is significantly higher than other EVs currently in service. The vehicles will also come equipped with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) that help to improve safety and reduce driver fatigue. The ADAS features combine with an advanced vehicle display to provide the driver with an intelligent and connected vehicle, UPS said.

“UPS is working with Arrival here in the U.K. because their smart electric vehicles are helping to reduce dependency on fossil fuel. This is a pioneering collaboration that helps UPS develop new ways to reduce our emissions,” Luke Wake, international director for automotive engineering in the advanced technology group at UPS, said. “UPS is marshaling its global scale to encourage innovation within the automotive industry. We are helping to drive demand for these disruptive technologies. The result is a safer and cleaner fleet for the communities in which we deliver.”

Since 2016, UPS and Arrival have been developing prototypes of different sizes, and the first vehicles are expected to be deployed on the road before the end of this year. UPS said Arrival was the first commercial vehicle manufacturer in Europe to provide purpose-built EVs to its specifications.

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Denis Sverdlov, CEO of Arrival, said the “affordable, modular, fully electric delivery vehicle” is designed to make deliveries in busy cities “clean and quiet.”

“With its unique, wrap-around front window, the driver has a much wider field of view that improves not only the safety of the driver, but also that of cyclists and pedestrians,” Sverdlov said.

UPS said electromobility and alternative technology are a priority for the company. With more than 9,000 vehicles worldwide operating using alternative propulsion methods, UPS has one of the largest private and most diverse alternative-fuel and advanced-technology fleets in the logistics industry.

“This initiative will help UPS attain its global carbon reduction goals for the company’s facilities and fleets,” Peter Harris, director for sustainability at UPS Europe, said. “We will continue working with our partners, communities and customers to spark innovation, thus leading the industry toward a more sustainable future.”

Last month UPS announced that it had installed a new charging technology at its central London depot that overcomes the challenge of simultaneously recharging an entire fleet of EVs without the need for an expensive upgrade to the power supply grid.

UPS currently has more than 300 electric vehicles deployed in Europe and the U.S., and nearly 700 hybrid electric vehicles. UPS also plans to deploy 50 plug-in electric delivery trucks that will be comparable in acquisition cost to conventional-fueled trucks, collaborating with Workhorse Group Inc. to design the vehicles from the ground up, with zero tailpipe emissions.

In December, UPS ordered 125 new fully electric semi-tractors to be built by Tesla in 2019. Since 2009, UPS said it has invested $750 million in alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles.

Rival FedEx said this week in releasing its 2018 Global Citizenship Report that it avoided more than 2.3 million metric tons of carbon emissions from energy-saving initiatives across the company through its “Reduce, Replace, Revolutionize” approach.

“FedEx is committed to reducing the impact from our operations, replacing assets that can be improved and revolutionizing our operations by discovering and applying new, innovative technologies and solutions,” Mitch Jackson, chief sustainability officer of FedEx Corp., said. “This strategy is key in helping us connect the world responsibly and resourcefully, thereby multiplying opportunities which deliver a positive impact for the communities where we work and serve.”

FedEx also saved more than 177 million gallons of jet fuel in 2017 through its aircraft fleet modernization and Fuel Sense programs.

FedEx also noted that it added nearly 300 electric vehicles to its fleet last year, bringing the total number of EVs to more than 2,100. FedEx Freight also announced plans to order 20 of the Tesla Semi fully electric trucks.