UPS unveils fuel-cell delivery vehicle
UPS, working with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and other partners, will deploy a prototype extended-range fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) in its “Rolling Laboratory” fleet of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles. The company claims that the design is a first-of-its-kind, zero tailpipe emissions, Class 6 medium-duty delivery truck that meets the same route and range requirements of UPS’s existing conventionally fueled vehicles. The vehicle will use an onboard fuel cell to generate electricity to propel the vehicle.
The project is said to be an important step toward demonstrating the commercial viability of zero tailpipe emissions trucks to fleet operators and the developing FCEV supply chain. The first FCEV prototype will be deployed in Sacramento, CA, where UPS will validate its design and core performance requirements by testing it on the street starting in the third quarter of 2017. Current project plans call for additional UPS trucks to be validated with at least 5000 h of in-service operational performance. All of the trucks will be deployed in California due to that state’s ongoing investment in zero tailpipe emissions transportation and hydrogen fueling stations.
“The challenge we face with fuel-cell technology is to ensure the design can meet the unique operational demands of our delivery vehicles on a commercial scale,” said Mark Wallace, UPS Senior Vice President, Global Engineering and Sustainability. “This project is an essential step to test the zero tailpipe emissions technology and vehicle on the road for UPS and the transportation industry.”
The project is part of a fuel-cell project grant awarded by the DOE in 2013 focused on verifying the proof of concept in commercial delivery vehicles with a goal to support the nation’s energy security, fuel diversity, and economic growth priorities. The project calls for retrofitting conventionally fueled trucks with fuel-cell electric systems designed specifically for use in a delivery-truck duty cycle. UPS is partnering with the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE), chassis-supplier Unique Electric Solutions LLC (USL), the University of Texas Center for Electromechanics (CEM), Hydrogenics USA, and Valence Technology.
Each FCEV produces electricity that continuously charges the batteries, providing additional power and an extended range of 125 mi (202 km). The drivetrain runs on electricity supplied by the batteries. Unlike other fuel-cell applications, this combination will support the full duty cycle of the truck, including highway driving.
The UPS truck, according to a CTE presentation, is based on a Navistar International 1652C 4x2 chassis with a maximum speed of 65 mph (105 km/h). It is fitted with a 32-kW fuel-cell power module coupled to a 45-kW·h battery pack and two 10-kg (22-lb) hydrogen fuel cylinders at 350 bar (5.1 ksi). The Hydrogenics HD30 fuel cell fits within the engine compartment along with the dc/dc converter and thermal management systems. The Valence Technology P40-24 battery power cell uses LiFeMgPO4 chemistry and is packaged within the frame rails. The Luxfer W205 HSS hydrogen storage cylinders are positioned outside of the frame rails.
The project team, which will retrofit 17 delivery vans with fuel-cell hybrid powertrains and test these vehicles at distribution facilities across California, is also supported through grants from California Energy Commission and South Coast Air Quality Management District.