UPS Inc. said today it will take delivery of 125 hybrid package cars built with two-cylinder instead of four-cylinder engines. The new engines require less battery charging and consume less fuel, while still allowing drivers to make their appointed daily rounds.
The vehicles, which will enter Atlanta-based UPS' fleet by the end of the year, will be deployed in eight states, including Georgia, Florida, Ohio, and Texas. Each car will get about 50 miles to a battery charge, which means they will be used in urban delivery service, which will not encompass a lot of miles.
The vehicles will need to rely less on traditional energy sources like gasoline and diesel fuel, an important factor given the wasted fuel burn that usually accompanies frequent stopping and starting in congested driving areas, UPS said. The new engines will provide four times the fuel economy of UPS' gasoline-powered vehicles, UPS said. The vehicles will be identical to UPS' familiar package cars in all other ways.
The vehicles are equipped with technology to automatically begin recharging the battery when it senses a low state of charge and the driver is away from the car. The charge can only occur while the vehicle is parked and the engine turned off.
Steve Burns, CEO of Workhorse Group Inc., a Cincinnati-based company making the engines, said in a statement that the system "enables the vehicle to accommodate UPS's typical route on battery energy" while the auto-recharge technology eliminates worries that a charge may expire while the driver is making stops or before heading back to base, a phenomenon described by Burns as "range anxiety."