WASHINGTON - UPS announced on May 19 that its fleet of alternative-fuel vehicles had expanded with the deployment of 17 next-generation hybrid electric delivery trucks to Washington D.C. 

Currently, 50 UPS hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) operate in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Phoenix. The 17 trucks deployed in Washington are part of 200 new HEVs deployed recently to eight U.S. cities. The 200 new trucks will operate in Austin, Houston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Long Island, Minneapolis and Louisville. 

The 200 new HEV package cars are expected to reduce fuel consumption by roughly 176,000 gallons over the course of a year compared to an equivalent number of traditional diesel trucks. The hybrids also should reduce by 1,786 metric tons the amount of CO2 gases released annually into the atmosphere. Since 2000, UPS's fleet of alternative-fuel vehicles has traveled more than 165 million miles. 

The UPS alternative-fuel fleet uses multiple technologies, including compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, propane, electricity and hydraulic hybrid technology. 

"We're proud of this large HEV deployment to major cities in the United States," said Bob Stoffel, UPS senior vice president of supply chain strategy, engineering and sustainability. "Collectively, this new HEV fleet can yield a 35-percent fuel savings, the equivalent of what's used in a year to power 100 conventional delivery vehicles." 

The new hybrid power system uses a conventional diesel engine combined with a battery pack, saving fuel and reducing pollution-causing emissions. The small diesel is used to recharge the battery pack and to add power when necessary. 

HEVs use regenerative braking. The energy generated from applying the brakes is captured and returned to the battery as electricity. The combination of clean diesel power and electric power, supplemented by regenerative braking, allows dramatic improvements in fuel savings and emissions reductions. 

The HEVs use a Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. body and a hybrid power system from Eaton Corp. The external truck bodies are identical to UPS's other signature brown trucks, although they feature additional labeling identifying them as hybrid electrics. The trucks use lithium ion batteries, which offer a faster re-charging capability and last longer than previous generation HEV batteries. Additionally, these vehicles are much quieter than conventional UPS trucks.