UPS is nothing short of a global giant that has revolutionized ground parcel delivery. And to continue along that path, they have recently entered into a multiyear agreement to expand its natural gas fleet; according to a company-distributed press release in October 2019.
The expansion includes the purchase of more than 6,000 natural gas-powered delivery and support trucks starting in 2020 and running through 2022. It also paves the way for on-site natural gas fueling stations for this expanded fleet.
This is a three-year plan and UPS is expected to invest more than $450 million to expand its alternative fuel fleet. The remaining funding will go to support a massive infrastructure project with the addition of numerous natural gas filling locations. The new fleet of natural gas-powered delivery trucks will be allocated to a variety of regions, allowing the shipping giant to spread the CNG fleet across the US, all while also helping reduce their carbon footprint.
About the New CNG Powered UPS Trucks
The new fleet of delivery vehicles are equipped with compressed natural gas or CNG fuel systems. This innovation is powered through an exclusive agreement with Agility Fuel Solutions, a subsidiary of Norway-based Hexagon Composites.
This $450 million expansion is the next big step for the current relationship with AFS. This company also currently supports UPS sustainability efforts across its massive fleet of delivery and support equipment. The goal is not only to help reduce the UPS carbon footprint but also positively influence the national CNG market.
According to Juan Perez, the Chief Information and Engineering Officer for UPS, “UPS continues to expand and improve our smart logistics network by implementing new technologies and creating a highly flexible, data-driven, and sustainable network. That is why we intend for 25 percent of our vehicles purchased in 2020 to run on alternative fuels.”
Powered by RNG
The trucks and support equipment powered with CNG fuel systems can likewise use RNG and conventional natural gas.
RNG is a gas produced as a byproduct of dairy farms, landfills, and other biosources. Compared to the standard or conventional diesel fuel, RNG yields up to a 90% reduction in lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions. At the time of the press release (Oct. 2019), UPS had agreed to purchase 230-million-gallon equivalents of RNG in the next seven years.
This makes UPS the largest customer of RNG in transportation.
Agility Fuel Solutions has been working with UPS since 2016, providing natural gas fuel storage and delivery systems to more than 1,700 UPS trucks. As part of the new agreement, AFS will provide a full end-to-end natural gas system for their fleet of heavy-duty gas trucks, medium-duty walk-in vans (the familiar UPS brown delivery truck) and terminal tractors. These vehicles include an on-board CNG fuel storage and management system, along with AFS’s certified natural gas engine fuel system.
“We are proud to continue our collaboration with UPS, a front-runner in clean transportation,” says Seung Baik, President of Agility Fuel Solutions. “With our range of proven and reliable clean fuel technologies and aftermarket support capabilities, we will assist UPS in reaching its sustainability targets.”
Continued Research and Development
Over the past decade, UPS has invested more than $1 billion in alternative fuel and fueling stations. All in an effort to reduce greenhouse emissions by 12% across its global ground operations by 2025.
UPS also extended its relationship with TruStar Energy to develop, manufacture and install five new CNG fueling stations located in Visalia, Lathrop, and Moreno Valley, Calif., Cleveland, Ohio, and Houston, Texas. They will deploy the fleet of new CNG vehicles on routes that use these new CNG fueling stations. This, in addition, to existing natural gas fleets in other UPS locations.
It is expected that by the end of 2019, UPS will have 61 CNG stations in operation. These will span across the US, Canada and Tamworth, UK.
Over the years, UPS has deployed more than 10,000 low-emissions vehicles. This includes electric vehicles, electric-assisted and pedal-powered bicycles and renewable natural gas trucks.