There isn’t a better way to catch my attention than using a Star Trek analogy. Well, done UPS.
It’s kinda like how in Star Trek III, Scotty sees a lot of unexplored potential in the ol’ Enterprise, but the brass are telling him she’s scrap because the new Excelsior’s “transwarp” engine is the only future worth having. Then we learn the Enterprise is still the only hope for their mission, while the Excelsior can’t cut it. Granted, there was some sabotage in there somewhere… but the underlying message is the same!
UPS is constantly trying to counter increasing fuel prices. This is likely true with every company in transportation, but UPS recently announced and demo’d its mostly plastic delivery truck that’s 40% more fuel efficient than the current. By ditching the sheet metal for plastic, these trucks are said to be 1,000 lbs lighter. This allows for a smaller diesel engine, which lends greatly to the lower fuel consumption. But back to that Star Trek line.
It seems by way of that Star Trek story that UPS doesn’t see next-gen powertrains being reliable enough for widespread use just yet. Current technology can be further advanced while the bugs are being worked out of upcoming tech.
It’s not like UPS hasn’t already embraced EVs. The company blog points out that they already have 1,900 EVs delievery packages. But these are smaller vehicles whose limited range cannot match that of the classic diesel trucks. This truck is an intermediary step whose innovations seem easily carried forward to the EV age. Fast Company explains that this truck is part of the firm’s goal to increase efficiency 20% across its entire fleet by 2020 over the baseline established in 2000.
The plastic brown trucks are still in the prototype stage so your UPS man will still be driving the ol’ ironside for some time.