Do UPS Electric Delivery Vans Represent Our Future?

Delivery vans. We see them coming around a corner and we get all excited. Soon enough those packages might get offloaded from electric delivery vans.

Sometimes delivery vans bring us items that are essential for work. Other times, they’re delivering something along the lines of a Christmas gift. We jump for joy while opening up the packaging surrounding them. We just can’t seem to get enough of the packages.

That said, deliveries aren’t quite perfect, are they? Drivers can make mistakes, accidentally drop off packages at the wrong address, or maybe don’t even show up at all. What’s an eCommerce company to do?

Simple. Test out a process that’s a bit more foolproof and relies more heavily on electric van delivery. While that might eventually phase out some jobs on the market, it would also mean better efficiency for the future. And despite what you might imagine, electric delivery vans could be a lot closer than you think.

Welcome to Arrival.

A British start-up company by the name of Arrival recently signed a huge deal with UPS. United Parcel Service is one of the premier delivery companies in the world. They will begin testing out a service revolving around electric delivery vans.

According to the deal, an estimated order of 10,000 vans has been placed. Arrival will manufacture and deliver the first batch later this year. They will be tested in two different regions — the United Kingdom and the United States.

As part of the deal, the two companies are working together to create vans that utilize drivers. However, the vans will make it easier to deliver dozens of packages across daily stops, rather than having to fumble through a van loaded with hundreds of parcels.

Arrival has already begun testing out prototype vans to get a feel of what the electric delivery vans can do. One of them was spotted making its way around New York City earlier this month. Though it didn’t actually take any delivery routes, the drivers did take it for a test drive. It performed up to standards, as expected.

How do electric delivery vans run?

The driver ultimately makes the van tick when it comes to following the route and still trying to deliver parcels on time. However, it runs primarily on a little black box that contains LG Chem’s lithium-ion cells, put within its battery modules. It’s actually out of reach of the driver and works on a capacity of 111 kilowatt-hours.

That means it can run a daily route without needing a charge, though companies are likely to keep them as full as possible. The last thing you want electric delivery vans to do is to lose power, right?

Instead of a traditional dashboard, the electric delivery vans would feature a large touch screen. With it, the drivers can keep track of where they are on their routes, rather than depending on a much smaller phone with a barely readable display. The touch screen would also keep track of the batteries’ charge levels. If a recharge is necessary, the driver wouldn’t have to wait too long to report it. (Again, keeping it fully charged goes a long way.)

Oddly enough, the electric delivery vans aren’t made of the usual car materials. Instead, they’re built on thermoplastic and glass fibers. This makes it more dependable when it comes to travel and housing precious cargo inside. This build enables it to hold a high-pressure vacuum mold while keeping the driver safe upfront.

The goal is to produce electric delivery vans such as these in buildings known as “micro-factories,” instead of larger assembly plants. By using these, vans can be stored more easily, without needing excessive space.

That would do massive companies a bit of good. It would enable them to turn around some of its funding towards necessary resources, rather than wasted space.

So…what’s the plan?

Don’t expect these electric delivery vans to be dropping off your Christmas presents just yet.

Despite a massive plan to introduce them, only a handful will make the rounds this holiday season. An estimated 400 to 600 vans will be available in Bicester, England, as well as here in the United States in Charlotte, North Carolina. There’s also a plant coming to South Carolina, though it likely won’t open until sometime in 2023.

Other companies, such as Amazon and FedEx, may look into this competition as well. This represents an attempt to keep UPS from dominating the delivery game with its new electric delivery vans. It’s just a question of who will deliver the best features.

Electric delivery vans will not only allow for overall better package drop-off. They’ll also provide the assurance that there will be fewer flaws in dropping them off.

The delivery game is about to change — big time — and it’s just a question of who will come out on top. Amazon, UPS, and FedEx are all well-financed, but one thing’s for sure. You’re about to get your packages a lot easier than ever before and it’s thanks in part to electric delivery vans.