FedEx Corp. has expanded its alternative-energy vehicle fleet by introducing all-electric parcel delivery trucks in the United States. Four purpose-built electric trucks—optimized 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.
Rather than creating its own proprietary technology, FedEx is 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.
“Electric trucks are still in their infancy, but we think they have a bright future in the mix of alternative energy vehicles,” says Mitch Jackson, FedEx’s vice president, environmental affairs and sustainability. “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 the company is evaluating at its 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. 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.