Pandemic e-commerce surge spurs race for ‘Tesla-like’ electric delivery vans

(Reuters) – Delivery fleet operators face regulatory pressure in California and other states to buy electric vehicles, but a surge in package deliveries thanks to coronavirus lockdowns has major firms itching to switch to electric right now.

UPS Driver Gilbert Lopez poses with his electric UPS truck, amid the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Los Angeles, California, U.S., September 1, 2020. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

And they want far more than just battery-powered versions of diesel- or gas-guzzling trucks and vans.

Fleet operators such as United Parcel Service Inc (UPS.N) hunger for computers on wheels that can harvest data and upgrade safety or autonomous features overnight to save money and boost profit.

“For us, it’s not just about making the wheels turn with a zero-emission vehicle,” said Scott Phillippi, UPS’s senior director of fleet maintenance and engineering, who envisions “Tesla-like” vehicles in the company’s vast fleet. “It’s

Read More