UPS Tests Composite Vehicles: Traditional Fuel with Alternative Design

Plastic is everywhere in our lives. Almost every item we buy has some sort of plastic component in it. Our cars have plastic and composite material in them already so the idea of a composite vehicle shouldn’t come as a shock at all. So, is this the new green vehicle?


UPS has partnered with Utilimaster and Isuzu to create the CV-23, a package vehicle made from lightweight composite body panels. UPS will be testing five of these vehicles over the next 8 months to determine fuel efficiency and durability. At 1,000 lb lighter than a comparably-sized UPS truck, it is expected to be fuel efficient even though it is traditionally fueled. The 150-horsepower truck utilizes an Isuzu four-cylinder diesel engine and a six-speed Aisin automatic transmission. The engine is smaller than a traditional UPS diesel engine and the hope is the smaller engine will use less fuel during daily operations.

Composite body panels are made of colored material, cutting out the application of paint, which adds weight and maintenance issues. The body panels, molded cladding, and bumpers are easily replaceable, saving the shop the trouble of bodywork repair. Another energy saving feature is the inclusion of LED lighting.

Watch a video of UPS Composite Vehicle here.

The goal is to see if the CV-23 withstands the rigors of UPS’s daily delivery routes while achieving a 40 percent increase in fuel efficiency over the UPS P70 diesel package car. Five extreme locations have been chosen as the test sites. They are:

  • Lincoln, Nebraska – some of the roughest back roads in the country
  • Albany, New York – tough winter conditions
  • Tuscon, Arizona – extreme heat of the desert
  • Flint, Michigan – long urban route near Isuzu headquarters
  • Roswell, Georgia – vehicle here will provide close access for the UPS corporate automotive department.

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