Overdrive Extra

Jack Roberts

Old World, new tech

| June 20, 2013

downloadLast week I found myself back in Europe – only this time it was for pleasure instead of work.

But work never really leaves us alone these days, does it? Smart Phones and iPads aside, it seems there’s always a little hint of work creeping in, no matter where you are or what you are doing (or trying NOT to do).

At any rate, after a very long trans-Atlantic flight, I found myself sitting in the Blackbird Pub in Earl’s Court, London, at the intersection of Barkston Garden Road and Earl’s Court Road, sipping a nice London Pride Ale and idly watching traffic and people flow by on the street outside.

London is a fabulously busy city with no end of things to see.  But on this day, what caught my eye was dark brown UPS truck winding its way through the traffic and narrow streets.

The reason this truck got my attention is because it was an all-electric delivery van – a Modec model, I think, although I couldn’t be sure. But there it was, out on the job in one of the most congested, busiest cities in the world.

The English have been using all-electric trucks for decades – primarily in milk delivery applications. So making the jump to P&D is not a big deal for English fleets. But while American fleets fret about range anxiety issues, this lone UPS van was proof that electric vehicles can – and do – work hard and make fleets money every day out there beyond our borders.

I was pretty jet-lagged. And terrified to turn my cell phone on and get destroyed by data-roaming charges. So I didn’t get a picture to share with you. (Although I did find one through the magic of the internet.)

But it seems clear that all-electric vehicles will soon pass through the “experimental” phase here in the States and enter into every-day fleet operations. And companies like UPS with their global resources will be leading that charge.

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