UPS To Test Electric Delivery Vans From Workhorse


Purpose-built trucks have been made by the aptly named Workhorse.

Delivery service UPS is getting ready to run a trial with 50 new electric delivery trucks in US cities including Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles.

The zero-emission vans, which have been designed by a company called Workhorse, have been designed to rival conventionally fuelled vehicles in terms of acquisition costs without the need for government subsidies – a problem that UPS says has been ‘a key barrier to large-scale fleet adoption’.

More Plug-In Truck News – Workhorse Opens W-15 Range-Extended Truck Orders To Public

According to Workhorse, the new vehicles have a range of around 100 miles and use a so-called ‘cab-forward’ design, which maximises load area. The vans also be around 400 percent more energy-efficient than internal combustion vehicles.

Following the test deployments, UPS hopes to fine-tune the vehicles and deploy a larger delivery fleet in 2019 and beyond. The company hopes that the running costs will also prove to be lower than those of similarly equipped internal combustion vehicles, and aims to have alternatively fuelled vehicles make up a quarter of its annual fleet purchases by 2020.

UPS has also said that as well as reducing their running costs, the vehicles’ quietness and cleanliness will bring a ‘significant benefit’ to urban areas.

‘Electric vehicle technology is rapidly improving with battery, charging and smart grid advances that allow us to specify our delivery vehicles to eliminate emissions, noise and dependence on diesel and gasoline,’ said Carlton Rose, president of global fleet maintenance and engineering for UPS.

‘With our scale and real-world duty cycles, these new electric trucks will be a quantum leap forward for the purpose-built UPS delivery fleet. The all electric trucks will deliver by day and re-charge overnight. We are uniquely positioned to work with our partners, communities and customers to transform freight transportation.’

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11 Comments on "UPS To Test Electric Delivery Vans From Workhorse"

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Man I hope Workhorse is successful.. I’m patiently waiting on the W-15, hoping it turns out as good as it appears to be.. If it does, they’ve got my money!

Kudos, Workhorse. It would mean a lot, if they simply give commercial users a platform they can reasonably maintain. Not all electric makers do.

Workhorse picked up another order today. $7 million to a San Diego company. Here’s the link.

Note the diagram, I cant figure out how the little 25 KW range extender from the BMW I3 could provide enough power for such a large truck.

Because a delivery Evan’s duty cycle won’t need much power on average.

“cant figure out how the little 25 KW range extender from the BMW I3 could provide enough power for such a large truck.”

I believe the range extender is more like 28kW or 38 hp so obviously it isn’t going to drive this at highway speeds but if you know in advance that you are going to need it it can start when you’ve freed up some space in the battery. China has several hundred buses and trucks that use a 30kW Hydrogen FC as a range extender.

i3 range extender kickin when the battery fall to 7.5%. The range extender on workhorse will probably kickin at much earlier time.

I think people get confused. They are used to the idea that some PHEVS basically just run off the ICE once the battery is depleted. And that’s obviously not happening here. As you say, perhaps the Rex fires up at automatically at 20% remaining (I presume it’s configurable) and just keeps running. Sure during straightaways and acceleration the battery would continue to go down because the power demand is greater than the generated power. Unlike other PHEVs however this engine likely keeps running during deceleration, stop and go traffic, delivery stops, etc when the outgo is minimized and it can recharge the battery to maintain 20% soc (or whatever level).

Article doesn’t say whether this is the BEV model or the PHEV model.

Good news, but this is not new for UPS. They have had I think around 100 BEV delivery vans operating in the California’s San Joaquin Valley for several years now. Mostly used in urban centers. I live here and see them all the time. Here’s a link to a press release from 2013 on that

Workhorse is also in the running for the next USPS delivery van. Their proposal is based on their W-15 electric pickup truck. I hear it can be a battery only 2 or 4WD with, or without a range extender. The USPS want to buy 180,000 new vans to replace their aging fleet which averages less than 7 mpg. If Workhorse wins, they will be riding high. The winner is supposed to be announced in March. They probably wont win as their initial cost will be higher than their more conventional competitors, but could be a lot cheaper in the long term due to lower fuel and maintenance costs.

While this is a hopeful sign, I note that UPS and FedEx already have some test EV delivery trucks, and obviously they have not yet committed to convert much or all of their fleet of delivery trucks to EVs.

I keep hoping to see UPS and FedEx — and eventually the U.S. Postal Service — convert to BEV delivery trucks, but obviously they don’t yet think the cost/benefit equation works for them.