Photo of E-100 truck courtesy of Workhorse Group.

Photo of E-100 truck courtesy of Workhorse Group.

UPS has begun using 18 battery-electric delivery trucks in the Houston-Galveston area of Texas and projects a savings of 1.1 million gallons of diesel fuel over 20 years with the move, the Atlanta-based parcel company has announced.

The trucks were purchased as part of a partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, local governments, and non-profits. The prototype E-100 trucks were built by the Workhorse Group.

"The Workhorse E-100 was designed and built to meet UPS’s daily duty cycle, with a range of up to 70 miles a day," said Steve Burns, Workhorse's CEO. "This UPS truck is designed from the ground up for local parcel delivery in high density, urban settings."

The fully electric trucks operate with electric motors and rechargeable batteries that supply seamless acceleration and regenerative braking. Delivery of the vehicles began last month and will continue throughout the fall.

UPS funded the purchase with a grant from the DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory as part of an effort to improve air quality in the Houston-Galveston area. The region has been designated as a National Ambient Air Quality Non-Attainment Area where air pollution levels persistently exceed national air standards.

"Our goal is to deploy vehicles with the least environmental impact possible in each region, consistent with local regulations and economic conditions," said Mark Wallace, senior vice president global engineering and sustainability for UPS.

The initiative adds to the UPS fleet of more than 6,430 alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles worldwide that includes 574 electric and hybrid electric vehicles.