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Some History of Sustainability with UPS
1936 UPS Electric Package Cars

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.

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Hey UPS – Why Not Convert 100% of Your Fleet to Alternative-Fuel Vehicles?

Nearly 2,000 strong, UPS has one of the largest private fleets of alternative-fuel vehicles. But some people ask – why not make the entire fleet of UPS trucks alternative fuel?

Good question. Here are some answers:

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We Can Rebuild Them. We Have the Technology.

UPS LNG tractor being refueledTwitter chatter about our LNG vehicles has hit it on the nose. One read, “Fleets w/ #natgas = fastest way to replace foreign oil.” True, when applied to the right vehicle, the right way, in the right environment. Hybrids and electrics are good for the short stops, but as alternative fuels they don’t pass muster for the long haul. That’s where LNG comes in.

UPS needed a derivative of the venerable diesel, something that could go 600 miles with heavy cargo-laden trailer and power the engine of an 18-wheeler over a mountain if necessary. Taking the proven diesel tractor and adapting it to run on liquefied natural gas is UPS’s answer. The solution is straightforward. Implementing it is a little more complex.

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Brown’s Legacy of Being Green

1936 UPS Electric Package CarsBeginning in the 1930s, UPS used electric package cars on the streets of New York City. Much like the company’s efforts today that seek to minimize impact on the environment, use of these vehicles made a lot of business sense in congested Manhattan. They traveled no more than 20 mph, but they didn’t need to go faster. They could operate in heavy traffic economically since they were battery powered and with little wear and tear. But they also didn’t contribute to the city’s pollution. So it was a shared bottom line – good for UPS, and good for the environment. The electric package cars were still in use in Manhattan in the early 1960s. 

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