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The United Parcel Service said Tuesday it will purchase 125 all-electric semi trucks from Tesla, surpassing PepsiCo’s order to make it the largest known order for the vehicle thus far. While the purchase isn’t tantamount to UPS making a complete shift to an electric fleet, the company has previously stated it wants to convert up to 1,500 delivery trucks in New York to battery electric units and has been researching non-traditional powertrains for some time.

With so many of its trips taking place between distribution hubs, a medium-range EV truck boasting a high capacity could be a good fit for UPS. At the very least, Tesla seems to think so — the delivery service provided the automaker with extensive data on how its trucks function on real-world routes in order to evaluate how the hulking BEVs might perform in its fleet. Of course, the cooperative experience also helps both companies promote themselves as leaders in the green revolution. 

“For more than a century, UPS has led the industry in testing and implementing new technologies for more efficient fleet operations. We look forward to expanding further our commitment to fleet excellence with Tesla,� explained Juan Perez, chief information and engineering officer, in a statement. “These groundbreaking electric tractors are poised to usher in a new era in improved safety, reduced environmental impact, and reduced cost of ownership.�

Dropping any and all cynicism, UPS does have one of the most extensive alternatively fueled fleets in the world. Bent on saving cash, the company has invested into all manner of tech to reduce fuel expenditures. It’s perpetually hunting for the next piece of technology that will bolster its bottom line.

However, it has to test those vehicles to ensure they’ll work as intended and Tesla’s truck will be no different. “As with any introductory technology for our fleet, we want to make sure it’s in a position to succeed,â€� Scott Phillippi, UPS senior director for automotive maintenance and engineering for international operations, told Reuters.

Phillippi said the 125 trucks are being purchased so UPS to conduct a proper test of their abilities. With the company was still determining their routes, he claimed they’ll primarily be used within the United States, with Tesla providing consultation and assistance on the charging infrastructure. “We have high expectations and are very optimistic that this will be a good product and it will have firm support from Tesla to make it work,â€� he said.

[Image: Tesla]

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