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UPS purchases eVTOL aircraft to speed up package delivery in small markets



Artist’s rendering of a new UPS aircraft.

Source: UPS

In fact, United Parcel Service has taken the package delivery service to new heights by purchasing 10 electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft from Beta Technologies.

In an announcement on Wednesday, Atlanta-based UPS said it will test the use of eVTOL in its Express Air delivery network, with a focus on small and medium-sized markets. The company will operate eVTOL under its Flight Forward division, which is also exploring the delivery of drones.

Bala Ganesh, vice president of UPS Advanced Technology Group, told CNBC that this new type of aircraft looks like an intersection between airplanes and helicopters, “unleashing new business models that don’t exist today.” For example, You can see the future it carries, for example, transporting 1

,000 pounds, 1,500 pounds” to rural hospitals, and then landing on the tarmac instead of the airport.

Vermont-based Beta Technologies will design and build eVTOLs, which will be delivered to UPS in 2024, pending certification by the Federal Aviation Administration. Beta will also provide landing pads and rechargeable batteries. UPS can choose to purchase up to 150 eVTOLs. The transaction price was not disclosed. Each time it is charged, eVTOL can fly 250 miles at 170 mph.

Ganesh said: “We also considered some emergencies, such as bypassing the traffic in New York, and then moving it directly to our 43rd Street building to solve the congestion problem.” “This is not suitable for all software packages, and Is suitable for certain use cases: willingness to pay and urgency, we may consider entering these areas.”

eVTOL will be used similarly to small fixed-wing aircraft with a capacity of 500 to 3,000 pounds. UPS said it initially plans to use them in smaller markets and create a series of short paths or a long path to meet customer needs. Ganesh believes that eVTOL will have operational advantages over small aircraft because they are designed to hold shipping containers, and in many cases, they allow packages to move faster.

“Smaller airplanes usually don’t have containers, they don’t have any type of container, so it loads the packages into these airplanes, then land, then must be unloaded onto a truck or another vehicle, and then driven to another vehicle. Location, measures were taken again and reloaded into the parcel truck that transported it,” Ganesh said.

Kyle Clark, founder of Beta Technologies, said his team has worked with UPS to help change the way the company handles handling packages.

Clark said in a statement: “We combine simple, elegant design with advanced technology to create a reliable, zero-emission aircraft, which will completely change the way cargo is carried.” “By using vertical take-off and landing. , We can turn a relatively small space in the existing UPS equipment into a micro air feeder network without generating the noise or operational emissions of traditional aircraft.”

Since Carol Tome became the CEO of UPS in June last year, sustainability has become increasingly important. UPS stated in its 2020 annual report that its goal is to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of ground operations by 12% by 2025 and obtain 25% of its electricity demand from renewable energy sources.

UPS announced in January 2020 that it has pledged to purchase up to 10,000 electric vehicles from the Arrival Group, headquartered in London and Charlotte, North Carolina. eVTOL batteries will also be compatible with those vehicles. Even after the first life cycle of batteries on an airplane is over, they can still be used in electric vehicles.

Ganesh said: “It creates a simpler operating model that makes us easier to deploy and manage as we move forward. Creating new processing methods allows us to have greater flexibility and can best reduce costs.”


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