What can brown do for you?

The hybrid news continues to flood in this week. On Tuesday, we learned of Wal-Mart's new hybrid addition to its trucking fleet, then New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the city's decision to make all yellow cabs hybrid by 2012. Today, UPS announced that it is adding 50 hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) to its delivery fleet in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Phoenix.

The stop and go nature of deliveries to commercial and residential addresses make hybrid technology a perfect fit for UPS trucks. Hybrid vehicles are most efficient in stop-and-go city traffic where the electric motor can be called upon to handle a majority of the propulsion duties.

"We're excited to be among the first to deploy the latest in HEV technology because it promises a 45% increase in fuel economy in addition to a dramatic decrease in vehicle emissions," said Robert Hall, Director of UPS Ground Fleet Engineering.

UPS says that the 50 new HEVs improve fuel efficiency by 45 percent, will save the company 44,000 gallons of fuel per year and reduce carbon emissions by 457 metric tons per year.

The HEV trucks feature a smaller capacity diesel engine, lithium-ion battery pack and an electric motor/generator. Regenerative braking is also used to capture energy normally lost with conventional brakes and converts it to charge the onboard battery pack. The hybrid system being used is from Eaton Corporation -- the same company that provides hybrid power for Wal-Mart's new Peterbilt Model 386 Hybrid.

UPS' new HEV trucks look nearly identical to the existing "brownies" that can be seen scurrying through city streets. What will tip you off to their hybrid functionality are "Low Emission, Hybrid Electric Vehicle" scripting on the side of the truck and an overall quieter demeanor.

UPS currently operates over 20,000 low-emission and alternative-fuel vehicles in the United States.

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home
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