UPS is making moves to create a cleaner, more high-tech fleet with plans to buy up to 10,000 electric vans from a U.K. startup that it’s investing in. It’s also launching a package pickup trial in suburban Phoenix with self-driving tech leader Waymo.
The delivery giant says the futuristic vans will be built specifically for its operations by London-based Arrival. Initial deliveries start this year and continue through 2024. UPS Ventures also bought a minority stake in Arrival, though neither company is providing a value for that investment. Hyundai and Kia bought a 100 million euro ($110 million) stake in Arrival two weeks ago. UPS isn’t saying what it’s spending, but assuming each van costs about $40,000, the base price of a conventional Mercedes-Benz Sprinter model, the deal could be worth $400 million or more. The plan is also contingent on successful tests of the first batch of vans, UPS says.
“These vehicles will be among the world’s most advanced package delivery vehicles, redefining industry standards for electric, connected and intelligent vehicle solutions,” said Carlton Rose, president of UPS Global Fleet Maintenance & Engineering. The vans will be equipped with Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems tech to maximize safety and operating efficiency and UPS will test them in limited automated applications at its depots. They’ll have service range of 100 miles per charge.