UPS will start testing extended-range fuel cell delivery trucks in the state of California later this year. In collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy, the company is working to develop a hydrogen-powered delivery truck that can meet the same range requirements as conventionally powered UPS trucks. The first prototype will hit Sacramento during the third quarter of the year, followed by additional trucks that will arrive in California. UPS will run the trucks through at least 5,000 hours of service to ensure their viability on the road. Unlike fuel cell auxiliary power units, each vehicle comes with an onboard 32-kilowatt fuel cell that generates electricity to power the vehicle. Along with the fuel cell, the model also has 45 kWh of battery storage and a capacity to hold 10 kg of hydrogen fuel. The project calls for retrofitting conventional UPS vehicles with fuel cell electric systems. These systems are specifically being optimized for use in delivery truck duty cycles. “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,” said Mark Wallace, UPS senior vice president of global engineering and sustainability, in a statement. “This project is an essential step to test the zero tailpipe emissions technology and vehicle on the road for UPS and the transportation industry.” UPS has invested more than $750 million in alternative fuel vehicles, advanced technologies, and fuel stations since 2009.
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