Through its UPS Flight Forward subsidiary the company plans to purchase electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft from Beta Technologies (BETA) as part of its innovation-driven strategy to identify new ways to help small businesses with sustainable solutions.
“This is all about innovation with a focus on returns for our business, our customers and the environment,” said Juan Perez, UPS chief information and engineering officer. “These new aircraft will create operational efficiencies in our business, open possibilities for new services and serve as a foundation for future solutions to reduce the emissions profile of our air and ground operation.”
With the capability to take off and land directly on UPS property, the company says eVTOL aircraft are “perfect for moving smaller loads that would otherwise fly to and from airports on small feeder aircraft or take even longer by ground.”
UPS Flight Forward is scheduled to take delivery of its first ten BETA eVTOL aircraft beginning in 2024, with the option to purchase up to 150. The vehicle has a 1,400-pound cargo capacity, a range of 250 miles and zero operating emissions.
UPS has reserved BETA’s recharging station for safe and rapid charging of the aircraft in under one hour to facilitate faster cargo loading and unloading. The charging station also offers the aircraft’s batteries a second life. After the batteries’ first lifecycle in the aircraft is over, they can be fitted to the charging station to recharge the aircraft’s onboard batteries as well as UPS’s fleet of electric ground vehicles.
UPS has more than 12,000 alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles deployed worldwide, and is committed to purchase up to 10,000 electric vehicles from Arrival.