Purpose-built trucks have been made by the aptly named Workhorse.

Delivery service UPS is getting ready to trial 50 new electric delivery trucks in US cities including Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles.

The zero-emission vans, which have been designed by a company called Workhorse, have been designed to rival conventionally fuelled vehicles in terms of acquisition costs without the need for government subsidies – a problem that UPS says has been ‘a key barrier to large-scale fleet adoption’.

According to Workhorse, the new vehicles have a range of around 100 miles and use a so-called ‘cab-forward’ design, which maximises load area. The vans also be around 400 percent more energy-efficient than internal combustion vehicles.

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Following the test deployments, UPS hopes to fine-tune the vehicles and deploy a larger delivery fleet in 2019 and beyond. The company hopes that the running costs will also prove to be lower than those of similarly equipped internal combustion vehicles, and aims to have alternatively fuelled vehicles make up a quarter of its annual fleet purchases by 2020.

UPS has also said that as well as reducing their running costs, the vehicles’ quietness and cleanliness will bring a ‘significant benefit’ to urban areas.

‘Electric vehicle technology is rapidly improving with battery, charging and smart grid advances that allow us to specify our delivery vehicles to eliminate emissions, noise and dependence on diesel and gasoline,’ said Carlton Rose, president of global fleet maintenance and engineering for UPS.

‘With our scale and real-world duty cycles, these new electric trucks will be a quantum leap forward for the purpose-built UPS delivery fleet. The all electric trucks will deliver by day and re-charge overnight. We are uniquely positioned to work with our partners, communities and customers to transform freight transportation.’