In UPS’s early days as a messenger service in Seattle (1907–1912), most deliveries were made on foot and bicycles were used for longer trips. It wasn’t until 1913 that the company acquired a Ford® Model T as its first package car––a move that reflected a shift in focus from messages to packages and began the evolution of the iconic UPS truck.
Increased demand, a need for efficiency, and an undeniable love of logistics were at the heart of three major moments in the lifeline of the UPS truck: the introduction of feeder trucks (1934) to move large lots of packages between cities in southern California, the addition of double trailers (1956) to keep pace with order volume, and the purchase of Overnite Corporation® (2005) to add operational hubs and expand the company’s Freight fleet.
The company’s tradition of exploring alternative fuels along with its commitment to maintaining reasonable rates (through fuel efficiency, amongst other things) led to these key moments in innovation and sustainability: the use of electric vehicles (1933) in Manhattan, the addition of trucks powered by compressed natural gas (1989), and the introduction of next generation hybrid trucks (2003).
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Infographic design by Ready Set Rocket