The shipping giant now boasts 264 hybrid trucks, which it says is the largest hybrid package delivery fleet in North America. The repurposed vehicles are 44 percent more fuel-efficient that standard FedEx delivery trucks and produce 96 percent fewer particulates and 75 percent fewer smog-causing emissions.
The company turned to Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. and Eaton Corp. for the delivery truck retrofits performed on 2000 and 2001 model year delivery trucks, which had been driven between 300,000 and 500,000 miles. The retrofitted trucks will be largely deployed in the Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco metropolitan areas.
The company has in the past received incentives from the state of California to add hybrids to its fleet and is eager for more. “Hybrid technology helps FedEx reduce emissions and fuel use as we work to increase the efficiency of our vehicle fleet,” Mitch Jackson, FedEx’s director of environmental affairs and sustainability, said in a statement.
In addition to FedEx, companies such as UPS, Corporate Express and Florida Power and Light have experimented with adding hybrid trucks to their fleets. Coca Cola Enterprises, for instance, announced earlier this year its hybrid delivery truck fleet totaled 327, which it claims is North America's largest.
For FedEx's hybrid truck retrofits, the 2007 Cummins ISB 200 hp engine and Eaton hybrid-electric system replaced existing power-train equipment, which consists of the engine, transmission, fuel tank and drive shafts. The hybrid-electric system includes a diesel engine, electric motor/generator and lithium-ion batteries. The existing chassis and body of each delivery truck were retained.
Roughly 50 temporary jobs were created during the retrofit of the 92 trucks, which took place in Charlotte, N.C.
All hybrid delivery trucks will soon be branded with the FedEx EarthSmart logo to signify the company’s efforts to reduce fleet environmental impacts. FedEx has set a goal of improving the fuel economy of its road fleet by 20 percent by 2020, in addition to also cutting its air-related greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020. By 2020, FedEx wants biofuels to account for 30 percent of its jet fuel use.
Since 2004, FedEx’s hybrid delivery truck fleet has logged more than four million miles of revenue service, the company said. Outside the U.S. FedEx operates 320 liquid petroleum gas and electric vehicles in Europe, in addition to more than 2,100 electric and alternative fuel airport forklifts and ground equipment units.
The company has also partnered with Iveco to road test 10 hybrid vans in Italy; results after six months indicate the vehicles are 26.5 percent more fuel efficient and emit 7.5 tons of carbon dioxide than their conventional counterparts.