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Special Project

Special Project
From the 3rd Annual Shorty Social Good Awards

UPS’s Rolling Lab: Driving 1 Million Cleaner Miles Every Day

Entered in Environment & Sustainability


UPS has always been an early adopter of innovative technologies. From introducing electric vehicles into our fleet in the early 1930s to investing more than $1 billion in alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure over the last decade, UPS is recognized as a leader in the development and utilization of sustainable transportation solutions.

With more than 119,000 vehicles on the road, UPS recognizes our responsibility to address the environmental impacts of our operations. That is why we take a "rolling laboratory" approach to our fleet – replacing vehicles with alternative fuel or advanced technology vehicles whenever possible. Through this effort, we're working toward our overarching sustainability goals and continuing to lead in advancing sustainable solutions for the transportation industry.

Strategy and Execution

In 2016, UPS met our goal of driving 1 billion alternative fuel miles one year ahead of schedule. Following this landmark achievement, UPS set new goals to source 40% of the fuel used in our ground fleet from sources other than conventional gasoline and diesel by 2025; and by 2020, 25% of our purchased vehicles will be alternative fuel or advanced technology vehicles. These efforts are driving our overall goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 12% by 2025 across our global ground operations.

With our rolling laboratory, UPS collaborates with vehicle manufacturers, fuel suppliers, government agencies and other stakeholders around the world to develop and test prototypes on the road every day. This allows us to determine how alternative fuels and advanced technologies perform in real-world operating conditions, quickly deploy viable options at scale, and spur market growth for alternative solutions.

With more than 100,000 drivers logging more than 3 billion miles per year across our fleet, UPS's future depends on our ability to meet the growing demand for global trade while reducing our impact on the environment. This is why we are putting sustainability innovation into action, all over the world.

As part of the rolling laboratory, UPS made a new investment of more than $90 million in 2017 in addition to the $100 million invested in 2016 to support UPS's natural gas infrastructure in the United States. This investment is going towards building six new compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations, and purchasing nearly 450 new natural gas vehicles.

In 2017, UPS also made a major investment in the electrification of our fleet by placing a reservation for 125 of Tesla's new fully-electric Semi tractors. UPS has provided Tesla real-world UPS trucking lane information as part of our evaluation of the vehicle's expected performance for the UPS duty cycle. This is just one example of the way UPS partners with suppliers of emerging vehicle technologies to help them develop solutions that prove ready for stringent UPS use-cases. Tesla expects to begin production of the vehicles in 2019 and UPS will be among the first companies to put the vehicles into use.

Another example of collaboration can be seen through our recent partnership with Workhorse Group, Inc. to design electric delivery trucks from the ground up, with zero tailpipe emissions. We plan to deploy 50 plug-in electric delivery trucks that will be comparable in acquisition cost to conventional-fueled trucks without any subsidies – an industry first that is breaking a key barrier to large scale fleet adoption.

These continued investments, combined with supportive government policies and collaborative partnerships have helped expand development and utilization of alternative fuels, vehicles and infrastructure throughout the world.


Since 2000, UPS's alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles have logged more than 1 billion miles in the U.S., South America, Europe and Asia. The company has invested more than $1 billion in this fleet, fuels and infrastructure over the last decade.

Currently, UPS has approximately 9,300 all-electric, hybrid electric, hydraulic hybrid, CNG, LNG, propane, biomethane and light-weight fuel-saving composite body vehicles. In addition, UPS has a total of 52 natural gas fueling stations across the U.S. and over 5,200 natural gas vehicles accumulating more than 1 million miles each business day globally. UPS also decreased our carbon intensity by combining more than 7,200 vehicles with our ORION system which allows for route optimization to save on fuel use.

In 2017, we made progress toward our new sustainability goals, increasing alternative fuel purchases to 21.8% (goal of 40%) and alternative fuel or advanced technology vehicle purchases to 12% (goal of 25%), putting us well on our way to achieving our goals.

By actively collaborating with technology partners, cities, fuel suppliers and other stakeholders, we are improving not only our own alternative vehicle designs, but also spurring infrastructure development and helping advance supportive public policy for alternative fuels and technologies. The success to date has ensured that UPS's rolling laboratory will play a critical role in the company's vision for our fleet of the future.


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