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UPS Adds 12 Modec Electric Vans to European Fleet

The Modec van for UPS. Click to enlarge.

UPS has ordered twelve electric vehicles from UK-based Modec, the manufacturer of the world’s first purpose-built zero-emission van. Six vehicles will be introduced into UPS’ UK fleet in February 2009, including the vehicle that was used for testing until now. The remaining six will operate in Germany.

The UK vehicles will operate out of UPS’ Camden facility, which lies within London’s Low Emission Zone and is the company’s central package facility in the capital.

The order follows a successful nine month trial of the vehicle’s capabilities earlier this year, where it averaged eighteen miles per day and a battery consumption of 25% of full charge per day during the course of its operations in North-West, East and Central London.

The Modec van features a 102 hp (76 kW), 300 Nm (221 lb-ft) drive motor. Modec started with twin parallel-wired 288-volt Zebra sodium-nickel-chloride battery packs, with a life span of around four years (1,000 full charging cycles.) Regenerative braking recharges the batteries in addition to grid charging, which takes 8 hours for a complete charge.

Interior of a Modec battery pack. Click to enlarge.

A Modec battery pack (50-100 kWh) sits amidships the purpose-built chassis in a drop-down cassette mounting which can be swapped out to avoid downtime while recharging. Modec leases the battery to its customers. The company signed a supply agreement in November 2007 with Axeon Holdings plc for lithium-ion iron phosphate packs and charging systems as well.

Modec says that over time, it will offer a variety of cassettes available with different ranges and performance.

Each zero emission vehicle can undertake one hundred miles on one overnight charge, with batteries in future models set to increase the range to 150 miles per two-three hour charge. Because it is an electric vehicle, it requires no road tax, MOT or tachograph and is not liable for the congestion charge.

As a company reliant on its mobile workforce, UPS continually evaluates developments in sustainable technology and proactively seeks opportunities to improve environmental performance. The company recently ordered 7 hydraulic diesel series hybrid delivery vehicles (HHV) in the US. (Earlier post.)

This order represents an important step towards making our fleet and operations more sustainable in the UK. At UPS, we have an ongoing commitment to reducing our carbon footprint, and we are continually assessing how to make the best use of alternatively fuelled vehicles on a global level.

—Jim Barber, Managing Director, UPS UK & Ireland

UPS first tried electric vehicles in the 1930s in New York City.

UPS is the world’s largest package delivery company and a global leader in supply chain and freight services, with a daily delivery volume of 15.8 million packages.




Great vehicle, but when are you guys gonna quit with the zero emissions BS.

Electric vehicles are NOT 0 emissions.


It's a good news.
If this big companys buy this vehicles, pehaps the others smaller companys will do the same nearly ?

As soon as possible ?




joe, why aren't EV's zero emissions?

Thomas Lankester


I think Joe is referring to the average energy mix of electricity generation including fossil fuels. Of course this 'average' ignores the increasing trend of companies with UK operations to develop their own renewable capacity: Sainsbury's supermarket, Michelin, Pirelli, Ford, British Telecommunications, Locus cars, Bristol City Docks, Manchester City football club...

Just where do these people come from?

Electric VEHICLES are 0 emissions.

Electricity producers may or may not produce emissions.

Stan Wellaway

Excellent news for Modec, excellent news for UPS, and excellent news for the future of zero-emission electric vehicles worldwide. The future for road transport is electric - and even the naysayers will be driving one themselves eventually.

Henry Gibson

Perhaps UPS will buy only hydro energy from Norway at an increased price and then it will be zero emissions. Of course you cannot actually know where the energy comes from if the grid is used. There is a lot of negative CO2 emission electricity comming to the UK from French reactors. Reactor electricity is negative CO2 because it replaced the oil burners that the French and English had before 1970. ..HG..


In 2006, over 600,000 new commercial cars and trucks were registered in the US. 12 electric vans is a start, but a very, very small drop in the oil bucket. This looks like a prime opportunity for a new administration to incent "change we can believe in."


This relates to previous discussion thread on compatible battery packs.

Xebra Solar

There seems to be some confusion among the commentators here as to 'emissions' from an electric vehicle. Just to clarify, there are none; EVs have no exhaust pipe or tail pipe and therefore have no emissions.

Even if you factor in the emissions produced by coal burning electric plants, EVs still produce less than 10% of the emissions of an IC engine

Dan Browne

These vehicles doesn't use OIL which means it CAN be sustainably powered. That it's source of power COULD BE coal is irrelevant since it's source could equally be wind, solar, wave, hydro and in the future it WILL BE because there won't be enough oil or coal to go around.

So in a nutshell this is a great move forward.

What we need now is for these vehicles to have a much lower cost of operation over the vehicle's lifetime and economics will do the rest.

Stan Wellaway

Yep. It's starting to happen. Check out the Case Studies page at http://www.smithelectricvehicles.com

Worldwide there are now more than thirty makers of cars and trucks who are either producing or developing electric vehicles.

Stan Wellaway

And check out the logic in this piece: http://www.evworld.com/news.cfm?newsid=19660

The point being the sheer universality of electricity makes it the most obvious immediate choice for transport. Plug the vehicles into the grid at the earliest date, and address the mix of how we generate that electricity as an ongoing project. Don't use the current mix as an excuse to not get started.


Quoth Stan Wellaway:

The point being the sheer universality of electricity makes it the most obvious immediate choice for transport.
Yup.  The system may be strapped at its peaks, but it has plenty of spare off-peak capacity to supply energy.  This makes it the sure winner against pie-in-the-sky schemes like hydrogen, which would require a brand-new infrastructure paid for with a trillion dollars we don't have.

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