Brown goes a Little Green

Pretty much everyone is familiar with the big brown UPS trucks seen across the US. Right now, their delivery season is in full swing as Christmas presents are sent to and from every place imaginable. This year, the United Parcel Service plans on helping the environment as well as helping spread the Holiday Spirit.

Shortly before Thanksgiving, UPS began using small electric powered vehicles, the Xebra, made by a company called ZAP which stands for Zero Air Pollution. The 3-wheeled Xebra houses 6 dry-cell batteries which power a rear-mounted motor. The top speed is set at 40mph and the range is between 25 and 40 miles. The most important number is 3 cents. That's how much it costs to run per mile, as compared to an average of 15 cents for gasoline using vehicles.

UPS will use the normal trucks to transport holding bins to heavily populated areas. Once the packages are sorted and handed out, Xebras will be used to make the final delivery. After their run is done. they will be stored in a secure place and allowed to recharge from a standard wall outlet.

UPS has given no official word on how long they will be using the Xebras, but the drivers "absolutely love it," according to Yates. Many people have said "they're happy to have them (the zero-emission vehicles) in their neighborhood."

UPS moves between 15 million and 22 million packages any given day of the year, which adds up in the fuel and emissions department. By using the electric vehicles, they not only help to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, they are proving that short-range electric vehicles are a realistic solution to a growing problem. Now that's a New Years Resolution to be proud of.

From : SFGate

George Delozier
Automotive Innovations