UPS Trucks Turn Plastic
However, none of them comes even close to what UPS is testing right now. The new truck, a CV-23, features no revolutionary engine, nor is it electric. Still, it is made of ABS plastic, a material that cuts the weight of the trucks significantly.
More precisely, the new trucks are 1,000 pounds lighter than standard version. This means two important things. First, you can fit a smaller engine on it, as the bigger unit would be a waste when used to push a lighter truck, and secondly, the reduced engine and weight allow for a 40 percent reduction in fuel consumption. And that, without buying the expensive hybrid and electric conversions currently on the market.
Five such vehicles, supplied by Utilimaster and Isuzu, will be deployed this year for testing purposes. UPS calls them, humorously, Car Trek III.
“Will these lightweight vehicles survive the rigors of deserts, mountains, back roads, snow and the constant weight of the UPS packages delivered every day? Will they endure while saving 40 percent more fuel at the same time?” UPS rhetorically asks on the official blog.
“Although we have 1,900 alternative fuel vehicles, none of our package car-sized AFVs are suitable for high-mile routes. Their fuel systems aren’t efficient at long ranges. Maybe the venerable diesel engine can be re-engineered to sip less fuel and lose a little weight. The composite material makes exterior parts replacement modular and could eliminate paint entirely!”