United Postal Service's trademark brown trucks will have some new green companions. One hundred fully electric vehicles were deployed in California's capitol city of Sacramento. This will be the largest introduction of zero-emissions, all-electric delivery vehicles in the state. According a Feb. 6 article in the Sacramento Bee, the trucks made their debut at the Shore Street distribution center in West Sacramento and will cover routes in Sacramento, Ceres, Fresno, Bakersfield and San Bernardino.
The trucks help to meet a larger goal set by Gov. Jerry Brown. He signed an executive order to deploy 1.5 million zero-emissions vehicles by 2025. This will match the number of fossil fuel-burning vehicles that roll on California roads and highways.
The fully electric UPS vehicles will cut fuel consumption by 126,000 gallons a year with expectations that they will lower carbon emissions. Electric Vehicles International (EVI) moved its operations from Mexico to Stockton in 2009 and took the UPS order in 2011. The company employs about 60 people to build the trucks in California. The order was a boost for EVI, which relocated to California in hopes of finding a profitable market for electric delivery vehicles.
UPS ordered the vehicles in August 2011 at a cost of about $150,000. This was much more than the $50,000 per vehicle cost for traditional diesel trucks. The electric vehicles should be far less costly to operate and that should recover the cost of building them.
The trucks have regenerative braking systems and a very good driving range. When a driver applies the brakes, the energy goes back to the vehicle's battery. The trucks are also about as quiet as a Prius car and they have a 75-mile range.
UPS operates 2,500 alternative-fuel vehicles worldwide, making the Sacramento vehicles a small but critical start to a growing trend.
Alternative energy is getting a boost this year. California Energy Commission Officials say that the state plans to invest $90 million toward alternative and renewable fuels technology in 2013.