UPS makes the move towards a greener fleet
UPS has announced the deployment of 40 new hydraulic hybrid delivery vehicles (HHV’s) today, which are to be released by the end of this year.
The vehicles, which have been developed by the Freightliner Customs Chassis Corporation and Parker Hannifin Corporation, are designed to provide improve fuel economy by up to 35 percent and lower CO² emissions by up to 30 percent, when compared to traditional diesel vehicles.
The new fleet will be deployed in Baltimore and Atlanta, with 20 of the new vehicles beginning service today in Baltimore, and a further 20 being released in Atlanta later this year. Both deployments were partially supported by grants from the US Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program, which is focused on supporting local actions to reduce petroleum consumption in transportation in order to advance the economic, environmental and energy security of the United States.
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UPS, which currently operates 2,593 vehicles powered by alternative fuels, already has one HHV operation in Laguna Hills, California and has been working closely with manufacturers to develop and test HHV technology since 2006.
The HHVs operate using two power sources - a fuel-efficient diesel combustion engine and advanced series hydraulic hybrid. Energy created by the vehicle's continued braking action is stored in the HHV's hydraulic high-pressure accumulator, similar to what is done with electric motors and batteries in a hybrid electric vehicle.
The HHV has a function to turn off the engine and drive the vehicle using the stored energy to propel the vehicle. This engine-off strategy can reduce up to 90 minutes of engine run time on a typical route. Because the HHVs efficiency relies on constant braking, the vehicles are best suited for urban routes, which typically involve frequent stopping and starting.
"Our long-term goal is to minimize our dependence on foreign energy and one way we will get there is through the deployment of a wide variety of technologies and designs in our fleet," stated Mike Britt, UPS director of alternative fuel vehicle engineering. "As early adopters of this technology, we are very pleased with the significant fuel economy and emission reductions that come from the HHVs."
Elon Musk's Boring Co. planning wider tunnels for freight
Elon Musk’s drilling outfit The Boring Company could be shifting its focus towards subterranean freight and logistics solutions, according to reports.
A Boring Co. pitch deck seen and shared by Bloomberg depicts plans to construct wider tunnels designed to accommodate shipping containers.
Founded by Tesla CEO Musk in 2016, the company initially stated its mission was to offer safer, faster point-to-point transport for people, particularly in cities plagued by traffic congestion. It also planned longer tunnels to ferry passengers between popular destinations across the US.
The Boring Co. completed its first commercial project earlier this year in April. The 1.7m tunnel system is designed to move professionals between convention centres in Las Vegas using Tesla EVs. It says the Las Vegas Convention Centre Loop can cut travel time between venues from 45 minutes to just two.
Boring Co.'s new freight tunnels
The Boring Co.'s new tunnel designs would allow freight to be transported on purpose built platforms, labelled as “battery-powered freight carriers”. The document shows that, though the containers could technically fit within its current 12-foot tunnels, wider tunnels would be more efficient. Designs for a new tunnel, 21 feet in diameter, show that they can comfortably accommodate two containers side-by-side, with a one-foot gap between them.
The Boring Co.’s new drilling machine, dubbed Prufrock, can tunnel at a rate of one mile per week, which is six times faster than its previous machine, and is designed to ‘porpoise’ - mimicking the marine animal by ‘diving’ below ground and reemerging once the tunnel is complete.
Tesla’s supply chain woes
Tesla is facing its own supply chain and logistic issues. The EV manufacturer has raised the price of its vehicles, with CEO Musk confirming the incremental hike was a result of “major supply chain pressure”. Musk replied to a disgruntled Twitter user, confused as to why prices were rising while features were being removed from the cars, saying the “raw materials especially” were a big issue.
Car manufacturing continues to be one of the industries hit hardest by a global shortage in semiconductor chips. While China’s chip manufacturing levels hit an all-time high in May, and the US is proposing a 25% tax credit for chip manufacturers, demand still outstrips supply. Automakers including Volkswagen and Audi have again said they expect reduced vehicle output in the next quarter due to a lack of semiconductors, with more factory downtime likely.
Top Image credit: The Boring Company / @boringcompany