Postal goods in California could soon be transported by zero-emission motoring as global logistics company UPS has announced plans to deploy fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) into its delivery fleet.

In collaboration with the US Department of Energy (DOE), the first prototype extended range FCEV is set to join UPS’ alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicle fleet.

This first prototype will be deployed in Sacramento, where UPS will validate its design and core performance requirements by testing it on the streets from the third quarter of 2017.

Ups fcev chassis 1

UPS FCEV chassis

Source: UPS

It is understood that project plans aim to deploy more trucks in California due to the state’s ongoing investment in low-emission transportation and hydrogen (H2) fuelling infrastructure development.

The vehicles can travel continuously for 125 miles and are each equipped with a 32kW fuel cell coupled to 45kW of battery storage and 10kg of H2.

Mark Wallace, UPS Senior Vice-President Global Engineering and Sustainability, highlighted, “The challenge we face with fuel cell technology is to ensure the design can meet the unique operational demands of our delivery vehicles on a commercial scale.”

“This project is an essential step to test the zero-tailpipe emissions technology and vehicle on the road for UPS and the transportation industry,” he added.

The project is part of fuel cell project grant awarded by the DOE in 2013, focused on verifying the proof of concept in commercial delivery vehicles. The scheme calls for retrofitting conventional fuel trucks with fuel cell electric systems designed specifically for use in a delivery truck duty cycle.