UPS to buy electric aircraft to boost package delivery speed in small, medium markets

First 10 Beta aircraft are scheduled to begin arriving in 2024

UPS plans to purchase electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft from Beta Technologies in an effort to speed up its delivery service in select markets.

UPS' Flight Forward subsidiary will test 10 of Beta's electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing aircraft "to augment its air service for select small and mid-size markets," UPS announced Wednesday.

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The sustainable aircraft can charge in an hour or less, and produce zero operational emissions, according to the company. On just one charge, the aircraft will be able to handle "a series of short routes, or one long route."

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"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," said UPS Chief Information and Engineering Officer Juan Perez.“

The aircraft is better suited to "sustainably transport time-sensitive deliveries" and will be beneficial for "healthcare providers, thousands of small and medium-sized businesses, and other companies in smaller communities," according to UPS.

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The first 10 Beta aircraft will begin arriving in 2024. However, UPS has an option to purchase up to 150 aircraft.

The package delivery company currently operates more than 12,000 alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles. In January 2020, the company announced a commitment to purchase up to 10,000 electric delivery vehicles.