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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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UPS Lightens Up – 150 New “Plastic Trucks” to Save 40% Fuel (Infographic)
UPS composite car

The trendy sports car Tesla has it. The Boeing DreamLiner has it. And now the UPS package car has it too. Composite materials are now being introduced to replace certain metal components in the ubiquitous brown trucks as a way to lighten the load by 900 pounds and improve fuel efficiency by 40%.  

UPS announced this week that it intends to purchase 150 composite-body vehicles, as a result of a year-long pilot program to test the composite materials’ durability, repair qualities and structural strength. The composite-clad package cars (nicknamed the “plastic truck”) weighs in nearly 900 lbs. lighter than a traditional package car, helping improve fuel efficiency by 40%, according to test results. Delivery is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2012.

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Car Trek III: The Search for MPG

In the summer of 1984, I went to the theater and saw Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. William Shatner had his T.J. Hooker hair (Happy 80th Birthday, Shat’!) and afterward I went to Taco Bell and got the collector’s glass with the U.S.S. Enterprise on it. Awesome. The movie was about a search (duh) that was risky and difficult, but the reward was an altruistic goal worth all the risks.

UPS embarks on an epic search today; “The Search for MPG.” UPS is the proving ground for five new vehicles by Utilimaster and Isuzu. These are not alternative fuel vehicles. They are diesel vehicles, but have smaller, 4-cylinder engines and lightweight composite materials to increase their fuel efficiency.

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