FedEx To Use All Electric Trucks In Parcel Delivery Business <


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FedEx To Use All Electric Trucks In Parcel Delivery Business

By Daniel Baxter

March 30, 2010 - FedEx Corp. announced the expansion of its alternative-energy vehicle fleet with the first all-electric FedEx parcel delivery trucks in the United States. Four purpose-built electric trucksoptimized for electric operation from the wheels up are slated to hit the road in the Los Angeles area starting in June 2010, joining more than 1,800 alternative-energy vehicles already in service for FedEx around the world.

“FedEx has a history of changing what’s possible, both in the innovative services we offer customers and in the way we offer those services FedEx has a history of changing what’s possible, both in the innovative services we offer customers and in the way we offer those services,” said John Formisano, vice president, Global Vehicles, FedEx Express.

“In 2004, we were the first global company to invest in hybrid-electric commercial trucks, and now we’re introducing the even cleaner all-electric parcel delivery truck. We’re making these investments, and invite others to join us, so that together we can speed the transition to a cleaner transportation system.” 

Rather than creating its own proprietary technology, FedEx is again turning to the marketplace to spur solutions that can rapidly be scaled up to provide affordable and reliable service to a wide range of delivery truck operators. It is purchasing its first North American all-electric vehicles from two different suppliers to evaluate the robustness of this technology for demanding daily FedEx Express deliveries in the Los Angeles area and provide information to help guide future FedEx vehicle purchases. 

Two of the new all-electric trucks come from Navistar, and are being assembled in Indiana. These are based on the Modec design already operated by FedEx in Europe. Ten such Modec vehicles serve FedEx routes in London and five more are on order for Paris. 

Another pair of electric vehicles is being purchased from a different manufacturer for delivery to the Los Angeles area later in 2010. Both sets of electric vehicles are designed with a range that allows many FedEx Express couriers to make a full eight-hour shift of deliveries before their vehicles need recharging. 

A FedEx-branded prototype all-electric truck from Navistar is being unveiled today at an event in Chicago to kick-off a demonstration tour of the technology. The vehicle will be operated for FedEx customers, employees, and local officials in several stops along historic Route 66 between Chicago and Los Angeles.

The “Charge Up Route 66” tour is intended to pay homage to America’s transportation past and the facilitation of inter-city commerce furthered by development of early highways such as Route 66. The electric truck demonstration tour is also designed to underscore a national initiative advocated by Frederick W. Smith, president, chairman and CEO of FedEx Corp., in testimony to a U.S. Senate subcommittee last month. Smith called for a comprehensive program to encourage affordable electrification of local transportation to foster more domestic energy production, less reliance on imported petroleum, and an overall reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. 

Once in California, the Navistar electric truck will be demonstrated at the FORTUNE Brainstorm Green conference, an environmental leadership event scheduled April 12-14 and featuring a presentation by Mitch Jackson, vice president, environmental affairs and sustainability, FedEx Corp. 

“Electric trucks are still in their infancy, but we think they have a bright future in the mix of alternative energy vehicles,” Jackson said. “Reliability and maintainability is critical for FedEx because of our commitment to superior customer service, so we’ll be giving these trucks a real workout, helping the manufacturers refine their future offerings. Down the road, we see the possibility of charging electric vehicle fleets with low- or zero-emission electricity generated on site by such innovations as solar electric arrays, like those at FedEx locations in California, New Jersey and Germany, or the Bloom Energy Server, another new technology we’re helping to pioneer through evaluating it at our solar-powered hub in Oakland.” 

By the end of June, the FedEx alternative energy fleet will have grown to 1,869 vehicles in service around the world, helping to diversify and expand the all-electric and hybrid-electric vehicle market around the globe. Beyond the nine new electric trucks to be deployed in Los Angeles and Paris, FedEx has purchased ten additional hybrid-electric vehicles that will be added to its California fleet throughout the spring, based in Oakland. 

FedEx currently operates the largest hybrid fleet in the transportation industry, along with one of the largest alternative energy vehicle fleets, and is committed to improving its overall vehicle fuel efficiency 20 percent by 2020. In conjunction with Environmental Defense Fund, FedEx led the launch of the development of the first commercial-grade hybrid-electric delivery vehicles. 

That hybrid-electric technology has now been adopted by more than 100 fleets, and the FedEx hybrid vehicle fleet recently passed the five million mile mark in daily service—the equivalent of 200 trips around the Equator. FedEx also works closely with organizations like CALSTART, North America’s leading consortium dedicated to the growth of a clean transportation technologies industry, to encourage the development of market-ready alternative energy commercial vehicles. John Formisano is currently the chairman of the CALSTART board after five years of service as a board member.
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