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Brown Goes Green – Fleets Push High Tech Envelope

UPS boosting use of alternative powertrains; fleets also explore driverless tech.

by on Jun.30, 2017

UPS has experimented with a variety of powertrain alternatives, and now wants more on the street.

United Parcel Service says it wants more of its big, brown trucks to go green, the company planning to use alternative fuels and other clean, energy-saving technologies in about a quarter of its trucks by 2016.

That is expected to included everything from propane to battery-power, as well as LNG, battery-electric hybrids and even hydraulic hybrid powertrains. UPS isn’t alone, however. A growing number of fleet operators are looking at alternate powertrain technologies, as well as other high-tech systems such as driverless vehicles, which could help reduce costs while also improving the environment.

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“Because of our size and scale, we know our commitments can shape markets, advance technologies and be a catalyst for infrastructure investments,” said UPS Chairman and CEO David Abney.

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Tesla Isn’t the Only Company Planning to Build Green Trucks

Daimler, Ford, several start-ups looking at battery, hydrogen power.

by on Jun.19, 2017

The Nikola One heavy-duty rig will be able to travel up to 1,200 miles on a fill-up, meaning Tesla's got some tough competition.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk isn’t content with his two current battery-electric cars, and has plenty of new options in the works to follow the production launch of the downsized Model 3 set for next month.

In an April tweet, Musk revealed plans to unveil a battery-powered semi-truck in September while also confirming long-rumored plans to add an electric pickup truck to the Tesla line-up, as well. But Musk isn’t the only one who wants to go clean and green in the truck market. Several competitors are laying out plans to launch alternative power models of their own.

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That includes both Daimler AG, which could deliver a battery-electric model through any of its five different commercial truck brands, as well as a Salt Lake City-based start-up – which, ironically, has also tapped Musk hero Nikola Tesla for its own name. Nikola Motors has a hydrogen fuel-cell-powered heavy truck it hopes to have in production within the next couple years. (more…)

Toyota Project Portal Would Replace LA Port Diesels with Clean Hydrogen Trucks

Fuel-cell system would replace diesels at busy, smoggy L.A. ports.

by on Apr.19, 2017

Toyota will begin a study this summer that could see hydrogen-powered trucks go into operation at two key Los Angeles ports.

While Tinseltown’s air quality has improved dramatically over the last few decades, there are still some problem spots, especially near the bustling Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach where long lines of diesel trucks queue up to drop off or pick up their loads of cargo.

State and local regulators have struggled to clear the air along the 710 freeway that links the ports but, so far, with only limited success. Now, Toyota hopes to offer an even more dramatic solution through what it is calling “Project Portal.”

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The maker late last year hinted that it had begun working on a project that would use its fuel-cell technology in a heavy-duty truck. On Wednesday, it revealed that the first possible application could see hydrogen-powered semis replace diesel models at the two Los Angeles-area ports. A proof-of-concept study will begin over the summer.

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It’s a Gas: Nikola Unveils Hydrogen Heavy-Hauler

Utah start-up hopes to build 50,000 fuel-cell trucks annually.

by on Dec.05, 2016

The Nikola One heavy-duty rig will be able to travel up to 1,200 miles on a fill-up.

A Utah-based start-up hoping to transform the heavy-duty truck industry has rolled out its first hydrogen-powered prototype.

Dubbed Nikola One, the big rig replaces the conventional diesel truck engine with a fuel-cell stack capable, it claims, of delivering the equivalent of 20 miles per gallon – or twice what the best of today’s heavy trucks can deliver. And officials from Nikola Motor Co. claim the rig will get up to 1,200 miles on a tank – though the big challenge today would be finding places to fill up.

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“There are many out there that wondered if we would deliver, but today we proudly show off the most advanced semi-truck ever built,” declared Nikola founder and CEO Trevor Milton, during a well-attended debut in Salt Lake City.

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