First look at e-vans that will deliver cargo and documents at Expo 2020 Dubai site

The UPS vehicles are part of a global push to drive down carbon emissions

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Electric delivery vans will be seen for the first time in the Middle East when these vehicles transport equipment and parcels across the Expo 2020 Dubai site.

Global logistics company UPS will in a few months take delivery of their first e-vans in the UK. The vehicles will be seen in Dubai next year.

The electric vans and e-quads – a combination of a crate on a quadbike – will help to reduce carbon emissions.

In a few years, the cost of deploying an electric vehicle will match or beat the cost of the conventional ones

The vans will join driverless cars being tested by the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority to transport passengers at the site.

“It’s exciting times. The biggest single shift we are undertaking, and will be for the next couple of decades, is the move towards electrification,” said Peter Harris, international sustainability director for UPS.

The company has teamed up with British electric vehicle startup Arrival Ltd to design electric delivery vehicles and ordered 10,000 such vans for use across the world.

"We expect to take delivery of the first of these in the next few months," Mr Harris said  this week.

“As the official logistics providers for Expo 2020, we will be bringing a number of technologies to the Expo.”

With the global growth in e-commerce, companies around the world are moving to reduce their dependence on conventional transport.

Global logistics company UPS will debut electric vans and e-quad bikes in the Middle East at the Expo site in Dubai. The vehicles will be used to deliver equipment and documents and will be part of a select few electric and other driverless cars that will be permitted to operate inside the Expo. It is part of a worldwide push to switch to electric vehicles and transform conventional transport models. Courtesy: UPS

Scientists say man-made emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide must end by 2050 to avoid global temperatures crossing the threshold of 1.5°C every year set out by the Paris climate accord.

The interest in zero-emission delivery vans is fuelled by the need to reduce pollution, particularly in the transport sector, with an emphasis on smart driving technology.

“It’s not just about trucks, it’s going beyond the truck, beyond emissions,” Mr Harris said.

“It’s to get to the point where the cost of deploying an electric solution matches or beats the cost of the conventional solution and we are getting closer to that. It’s probably only a few years away.

"Then deploying an EV [electric vehicle] is no longer just a sustainable solution, it is also the commercial common sense solution.”

To tackle congestion challenges, the company also uses e-bikes to drop and pick up parcels in 30 cities.

Expo 2020 has declared its commitment to working with countries and companies to promote technology that drives sustainability.

For the past two years, UPS has been the Expo's logistics partner.

It has handled the delivery of huge structures that were used to build the Al Wasl dome’s towering trellis and the tall entrance gates at the Dubai Expo site.

The company was also the logistics sponsor in the 2012 Olympic Games in London and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.