Bikes and smart grids: How UPS manages urban delivery (with video)

UPS has been “on the foothills” of electrification for more than a decade, Harris said, but recently pushed the boundaries of those investments with a new concept electric truck, to be built by United Kingdom-based company Arrival.

UPS has committed to purchasing 10,000 of those vehicles, in a move that matches Amazon’s partnership with Rivian, the electric vehicle startup that is building the e-commerce and tech giant a custom delivery vehicle.

Ticking off other electrification projects, Harris said UPS in London deployed the world’s first smart grid and energy storage solution to get power to electric vehicles more efficiently.

Bicycles are a big part of urban logistics strategy for UPS, which was founded in 1907 as a bike courier service in Seattle.

Today entire urban regions, downtown Munich for one, are being serviced with almost no trucks but plenty of electric assist bicycles, Harris said.