The JOURNAL of COMMERCE ONLINE
UPS will test a hybrid diesel delivery truck that's as much as 70 percent more fuel-efficient than its regular vehicles.
The prototype will go into service in Detroit in August, according to John Beystehner, UPS's chief operating officer.
The hybrid was developed with truck maker Navistar International Corp., hydraulic equipment maker Eaton Corp., the U.S. Army and the Environmental Protection Agency.
"We will be looking at maintenance and reliability issues very intensely," Beystehner told Bloomberg News. He said "it's too early to speculate" about how many of the vehicles UPS may purchase to add to its 91,000 vehicle fleet.
More efficient vehicles could reduce spending on fuel, which totaled almost $2.1 billion last year for UPS, about 5 percent of total operating expenses. Diesel fuel, used to power most of UPS's large delivery vehicles, this week cost an average of $2.915 cents a gallon, 26 percent more than a year earlier, according to the U.S. Energy Department.
The truck's power train uses a so-called series hydraulic hybrid system, combining a high-efficiency diesel engine with a hydraulic propulsion system that doesn't use a standard drive train and transmission, the EPA said in a statement. Instead of using batteries to store electric power, as in Toyota Motor Corp.'s Prius, the truck stores energy in hydraulic pumps and tanks.
Fuel economy is improved by using brakes to recover energy from stopping, a more efficient diesel engine and the ability to shut off the engine when the truck decelerates, the EPA said.