More Plastic Delivered to a U.P.S. Truck

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While plastic automotive applications has a love/hate relationship among many automotive enthusiasts is more plastic the future? Seems that U.P.S. thinks so.

More Plastic Delivered to a U.P.S. Truck

Is the future a truck made completely of plastic?

U.P.S. recently announced that is going to introduce 150 plastic-body trucks into its fleet. The company says that it has tested the delivery trucks with composite plastic panels in five regions over the past year. It has found that, to no one’s surprise, that these plastic trucks lower fuel usage by 40 percent versus the aluminum-bodied P70 truck it currently uses.

The plan is to introduce these trucks late in 2012 with primary usage being in “high-mileage routes, primarily in the Western region of the United States,” according to the NY Times.

Building these trucks known as CV-23 is a collaboration between U.P.S. and Utilimaster – Indiana-based consumer-vehicle builder. They are powered by a 150-horsepower, 4-cylinder Isuzu diesel engine which is said to be more fuel efficient than the General Motors and Cummins engines used in their regular trucks. Helping the fuel efficieny of the new trucks is the weight difference with the aluminum-body at 9,500 pounds and the plastic at 8,600 pounds.

A spokesman for U.P.S., Lynnette McIntire, said the three years of development and the one year of testing proved that the new truck could be just as durable as the aluminum-body trucks.

The new trucks have a variety of plastic including lower body panels, front fenders and dashboard. It also has “some structural components” including the roof and hood.

This story brings up the question, how much longer until aluminum car/truck bodies is completely gone? 5-10 years? Will there be no longer a need for places like Maaco to fix dents and dings rather we just unscrew and replace with a plastic replica? As our society becomes a “throw away” world where if your DVD player breaks, you simply buy a new one, will truck body parts be that way too?

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Filed Under: Auto News


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  1. Lynnette Mcintire says:

    This is Lynnette from UPS: The plastic components can be recycled into new parts so they arent necessarily destined for the landfill. thanks for being interested.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      Thanks for adding that! It is an interesting way to think about recycling.


  2. Jason (Admin) says:

    This is signficant news, as we’re undoubtedly going to see more plastic body panels on new vehicles in the future…including new trucks.

  3. mk says:

    yah, plastic is everywhere in our vehicles all over inside and out. I’d prefer more outside than inside since plastic parts inside break way too easy and have had several clips holding stuff on inside on all vehicles break way too easily and interior is becoming way too cheap for my tastes on all vehicles. At least with plastic on the outside, it will be lighter and easily replaceable and yet lighter and more fuel efficient will not rust but need to make it stronger like in the tailgate area of pickups since the sheet metal inside plate of the tailgate is a joke way too thin and easily dented.

  4. mk says:

    Almost forgot, saturn had a good thing going with plastic body panels but in the end, I think the plastic would crack causing paint to look ugly over the years especially here in the midwest due to extreme cold winters. If they can get the plastic to not crack and paint to fail on plastic overtime, it is a good idea I think.

    • Jason (Admin) says:

      mk – Good call on plastic panels on Saturns…I think consumers embraced them once they got used to the idea, only just as you say, there are still some long-term issues that need to be fixed.

  5. Mason says:

    A plastic Isuzu Reach, interesting.

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