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UPS to Deploy Hydrogen Fuel Cell Truck in California

May 02, 2017

Photo courtesy of UPS.
Photo courtesy of UPS.

UPS will begin using a medium-duty delivery truck that uses gaseous hydrogen to power an electric battery and motor in Sacramento, California, with an eye toward expanding use of the alternative fuel after a successful test.

The delivery company announced it will begin testing a prototype truck to determine whether the zero-emission fueling technology could be more widely adopted across the fleet. UPS still needs to validate its design and core performance requirements for at least 5,000 hours, said Mike Britt, director of maintenance and engineering for international operations of UPS. If the test is successful, UPS plans to add 16 additional trucks built on a Class 6 chassis.

"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, global engineering and sustainability. "This project is an essential step to test the zero tailpipe emissions technology and vehicle on the road for UPS and the transportation industry."

To develop the truck, UPS partnered with Unique Electric Systems, a vehicle modifier that integrated various components of the hydrogen fuel cell powertrain. Unlike fuel cell auxiliary power units, the vehicle uses the 32-kilowatt-per-hour fuel cell to generate electricity to propel the vehicle. The system uses an electric motor from Nidec, fuel cell stack from Hydrogenics, 45 kilowatt-per-hour battery from Valance, and tanks from Luxfer that can support up to 10 kilograms of fuel.

Photo of the Hydogenics fuel cell stack courtesy of UPS.
Photo of the Hydogenics fuel cell stack courtesy of UPS.

The truck can carry about 10,000 pounds of payload and travel a range of up to 125 miles, said Scott Philippi, automotive maintenance and engineering manager for UPS.

UPS developed the vehicle in a partnership that also included the U.S. Department of Energy's Center for Transportation and the Environment and the University of Texas’ Center for Electromechanics.

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