As the UPS Archivist, I spend a lot of time researching documents that reveal our history and the stories of our people.
So in my search through the UPS Archives – while looking for something else I might add – I came across this document from 1933 asking for the funds for three new “Gould Batteries for two ton Walker Electric Trucks.” These new batteries were to replace three “very old and almost useless” batteries in package cars that were serving in New York City at the time.
The interesting thing about this document is that it’s the earliest known record of UPS having electric vehicles, or alternative fuel vehicles (AFV), and reveals that UPS began using electric vehicles as early as 1933, or possibly even earlier. Further supporting this, we have photos of electric package cars in Los Angeles.
This got me thinking about other milestones in our history that demonstrate sustainable, environmentally-focused practices – even before anyone was using the word “sustainability.” Here are a few of my favorites:
1913 – We began consolidating deliveries which not only pleased our customers, but took vehicles off the road.
1933 – The first verifiable use of electric vehicles in our fleet.
1982 – We began using vehicles fueled with propane, continuing our journey into new fuel sources.
1985 – We added vehicles fueled with compressed natural gas (CNG); we now have over 1,000 on the road.
1990 – The Delivery Information Acquisition Device (DIAD) is born. Think of all the paper we have saved.
1994 – We began using reusable smalls sort bags instead of disposable plastic bags. Score one for landfill avoidance.
1998 – We partnered with the Environmental Defense Fund for responsible packaging, and introduced hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) into our fleet.
2003 – We installed our first solar panels in sunny Palm Springs, California.
What’s your favorite moment in our history? Post your comments below.