Emissionless medium rigid hits the road

Testing in California of Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle medium-duty delivery truck

Emissionless medium rigid hits the road
The UPS Hydrogenics system in the chassis


UPS is deploy a prototype extended range Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) in its Rolling Laboratory fleet of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles in the US, the international express delivery firm says.

The company is working with the US Department of Energy (DOE) and other partners to design a ground-breaking, zero tailpipe emissions, Class 6 medium-duty delivery truck that meets the same route and range requirements of UPS’s existing conventional fuel vehicles.

"Unlike fuel cell auxiliary power units, this vehicle will use the onboard fuel cell to generate electricity to propel the vehicle," UPS notes.

"This project is an important step toward demonstrating the commercial viability of zero tailpipe emissions trucks to fleet operators and the developing FCEV supply chain."

The first FCEV prototype will be deployed in Sacramento, California, where UPS aims to validate its design and core performance requirements by testing it on the street starting the third quarter of calendar 2017.

Current project plans call for additional UPS trucks to be validated with at least 5,000 hours of in-service operational performance.

All of the trucks will be deployed in California due to that state’s ongoing investment in zero exhaust-pipe emissions transportation and instalment of hydrogen fuelling stations around the state.

"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," UPS senior vice president global engineering and sustainability Mark Wallace says.

"This project is an essential step to test the zero tailpipe emissions technology and vehicle on the road for UPS and the transportation industry.

"We have a long history of developing and promoting the use of more sustainable alternative fuels with our Rolling Laboratory, and hope that by bringing our unique expertise to the development of hydrogen fuels, we can help advance the technology."

Each FCEV produces electricity which continuously charges the batteries, thereby providing additional power and an extended range of 125 miles (200km).

The UPS trucks are equipped with a 32kW fuel cell coupled to 45kW of battery storage and 10kg of hydrogen fuel.

The drive train runs on electricity supplied by batteries.

"Unlike other fuel cell applications, this will support the full duty cycle of the truck, including highway driving," UPS says.

The project is part of a fuel cell project grant awarded by DOE in 2013 focused on verifying the proof of concept in commercial delivery vehicles.

It calls for retrofitting conventional fuel trucks with fuel cell electric systems designed specifically for use in a delivery truck duty cycle.

UPS is partnering with the Center for Transportation and the Environment as well as Unique Electric Solutions and the University of Texas’ Center for Electromechanics. 

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