Friday, February 8, 2013

UPS to deploy EV trucks in Fresno market

I've talked a few times in the past about how even though Fresno and the Central Valley are home to the nations worst air, we have almost no electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure.

During the summer, the air board asks people not to drive, because the air quality approaches very unhealthy levels, but at the same time has to issue warnings for people not to bike because that would involve breathing the bad air. So naturally, people drive just as much, if not more, than they would on any other day. And without a push for electric vehicles, the number of non-polluting cars on the road is minimal.

While Costco and Walgreens have installed charging stations in their parking lots around the country, none are in the Fresno market. Blackbeard's, which was set to install the city's first real public EV charging station has seen their progress stalled for months. On the public side, those in charge have decided that grants available to improve air quality are best used.....to widen roads.

There is some good news though.

Today UPS announced that they would be deploying 100 electric delivery trucks on certain routes. That's not a huge amount, but what is especially exciting is that they're being deployed to the cities that would most benefit from the reduction of diesel exhaust.
The vehicles have a range of up to 75 miles and primarily will deliver packages to customers in Sacramento, San Bernardino, Ceres*, Fresno and Bakersfield.
Autoblog.com   *Near Modesto
Consider me shocked. When I saw the headline, my very first assumption was that they'd be deployed in San Francisco, San Jose, and Los Angeles, because that's where they'd generate the most publicity.

Instead, they're being sent out where they're needed most. 

Now, UPS isn't doing this entirely because they're so nice- they're receiving significant public funds to work with EV vehicles. Fortunately, that's also helping create local valley jobs.
The vehicles were manufactured in Stockton, California by Electric Vehicles International (EVI). The purchase of these vehicles from EVI is also providing new jobs and revenue to the state, as well as creating vehicles that will improve air quality.
I'm not a fan of corporate handouts, but if the choice is between using CMAQ funds to widen a road or buy an electric delivery truck, I think the choice is pretty clear. Why not start by equipping the US Postal Service with greener vehicles?

If you see an electric UPS vehicle doing the rounds in Fresno, I'd love to hear about it.

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