Fuel cell technology has been gaining traction, despite the popularity of electric vehicles in today's market. What was once considered an impossible alternative, hydrogen powered trucks and cars have been gaining support through demand and infrastructure changes, making them more readily available to those who live in selected areas (like California). Freight giant UPS recently announced that they will begin testing extended-range fuel cell vehicles later this year, in order to cut down on their carbon footprint and futher the movement of eco-conscious transportation.
The first hydrogen-fueled UPS truck will hit Sacramento roads in the third quarter of this year, according to the company. Other trucks will then be put to the test on the road, as UPS claims they will conduct 5,000 hours of service to decide the viability of fuel cell vehicles. The onboard 32-kilowatt hydrogen cells will generate electricity to power the trucks around town.
UPS will be retrofitting current fleet vehicles over to the fuel cell electric powertrains.
“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 ... This project is an essential step to test the zero tailpipe emissions technology and vehicle on the road for UPS and the transportation industry.”
UPS has consistently been a leader in alternative fuel research. It has reportedly spent over $750 million since 2009 developing advanced technology for use in company operations.