Cities around the world are taking action to reduce congestion, limit emissions and improve air quality. To address these interconnected issues, the Smart Electric Urban Logistics (SEUL) project, a UPS-led consortium, deployed game-changing technology that enables simultaneous recharging of electric fleets.
Launched in April 2017 in collaboration with UK Power Networks, Cross River Partnership and the UK’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles, SEUL was designed to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles for larger commercial fleets.
At project start, UPS had already integrated 52 plug-in electric trucks in its 170-vehicle fleet operating from its central London depot. However, constraints in the grid infrastructure limited the company’s ability to scale electric vehicles without a costly and disruptive upgrade to the local grid.
As part of this project, UPS converted 20 diesel delivery trucks to fully electric vehicles. A specialist supplier retrofitted the vehicles with an electric power train and batteries, which are recharged via an on-board charger.
Converting these vehicles brought the total electric fleet size above the 63-vehicle maximum that could be charged at the depot. The successfully commissioned SEUL smart charging system now enables UPS to charge its entire central London fleet of 170 vehicles at the same time. The 20 converted vehicles are already contributing to cleaner air, achieving estimated well-to-wheel CO2e emissions savings of 65% compared to diesel.
The SEUL project marked a major turning point in enabling electric vehicles to be deployed at scale, which is an essential component of tackling the air quality and emissions challenges in the world’s largest cities.