The FedEx fleet already includes over 1800 alternative-energy vehicles – hybrid and biodiesel – worldwide, but these will be the company’s first all-electric trucks in the United States. Two of the new trucks are being manufactured in Indiana by Navistar (NYSE: NAV). These will be based on the Modec all-electric trucks that the company already operates in Europe.
The all-electric Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEV) will be designed to allow drivers a full eight hour shift without recharging.
"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."
A FedEx-branded prototype all-electric truck from Navistar was unveiled this week in Chicago. It is now going to make its way along Route 66 to Los Angeles, where the new all-electrics will be operational by June of this year. They are calling it the “Charge Up Route 66” tour. The trucks are scheduled to arrive in Los Angeles on April 12th.
The all-electric team has been blogging from the road. Ironically, one of the trucks first stops was at a vintage Standard Oil Station in Odell, IL that had been restored to its original 1932 state. The truck also stopped in Cuba, MO, where they saw the world’s biggest rocking chair, and plans to go to St. Louis, Joplin, Oklahoma City, Amarillo and Albuquerque.
In a press release, FedEx said that “the electric truck demonstration tour is 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.”
Los Angeles is meant to be a test for the technology, which is one of the reasons that FedEx is trying two different brands, though they have not disclosed the second manufacturer.
"Electric trucks are still in their infancy, but we think they have a bright future in the mix of alternative energy vehicles," said Mitch Jackson, vice president, environmental affairs and sustainability at FedEx.
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.
FedEx has also purchased 5 new all-electric vehicles to operate in Paris and 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. The FedEx hybrid vehicle fleet recently passed the five million mile mark in daily service-the equivalent of 200 trips around the Equator.
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