UPS, in its largest single order of alternative-fuel commercial vehicles to date, will purchase a combination of 500 hybrid diesel-electric and compressed natural gas trucks from Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC). Big Brown will buy 200 hybrid diesel-electric delivery vans from FCCC, as well as 300 walk-in vans powered by compressed natural gas (CNG).

Based on FCCC's MT45 and MT55 walk-in van chassis, all 500 “green” vehicles will be placed in daily delivery operations across the U.S. UPS currently has 25 hybrids in service and will take delivery of 200 new trucks in 2009. The CNG units are scheduled to go into service later this year.

FCCC said that under federal incentive programs, its hybrid trucks may be eligible for up to $4,500 in tax credits and CNG chassis for up to $25,000 in tax credits.

The hybrids are powered by a Cummins ISB 5.9-liter diesel meeting EPA '07 emissions requirements and Eaton hybrid technology with lithium-ion batteries. The Eaton system features a new low-profile hybrid drive unit that provides a completely flat floor in the driver compartment without any cab modifications. The diesel-hybrid package offers a 40% improvement in fuel economy and a 90% reduction in emissions compared to non-hybrid vehicles, according to FCCC.

The CNG trucks use the Cummins D Gas Plus engine, which produces 195 hp. They feature twin aluminum fuel cylinders that provide a fuel range of up to 275 mi., said FCCC.