Three for the Road, in a Hybrid

If it performs successfully, the new OptiFleet E700 could become the standard FedEx Express medium-duty delivery truck. In order to test the trucks, the carrier is purchasing 20 of them from Eaton to be put into operation in four U.S. cities later this year and into the early part of 2004.

Environmental Defense is a nation nonprofit organization with more than 300,000 members that seeks to create breakthrough solutions to serious environmental problems. Introduction of the OptiFleet E700 comes in the third of a four year project between Environmental Defense and FedEx Express aimed at creating a delivery truck to significantly reduce emissions and lower fuel use.

Work between the two organizations began in 2000, with a manufacturing partner sought, through competitive proposals, in 2001. Eaton Corp. was selected from more than 20 manufacturers. In Eaton’s resulting combined diesel engine and electric motor, an internal computer responds to driving conditions and driver demands to deliver needed power. Energy is captured and stored in lithium-ion batteries to provide stored electric power on demand. In the Eaton design, there’s no need to recharge using external sources, like power cords and electrical outlets.

To further reduce emissions, Eaton added a particulate trap to the truck. Overall, the new truck has a gross vehicle weight of 16,000 lbs. and 670 cubic feet of cargo capacity.

According to information furnished by this consortium, the bottom line on the OptiFleet E700 is that it will decrease particulate emissions by 90%, smog-causing emissions by75% and increase fuel efficiency by 50%.

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