FedEx Express, a unit of Memphis-based FedEx Corp is rolling out a fleet of 43 electric trucks in the San Francisco Bay Area, joining 53 other electric vehicles in cities across the U.S. The giant logistics-and-delivery company’s new all-electric (EV) trucks will also be deployed in several Southern California cities, suburban Washington, D.C., New York City, and in some locations in Texas. FedEx is also testing EV trucks from different manufacturers in Chicago where the weather conditions include steamy hot summers and brutally cold icy winters.
The launch of the all-electric vehicles is part of FedEx’s goal of making its entire fleet 20 percent more fuel-efficient by 2020 in compliance with 2010 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) diesel emission standards. The company announced in mid-May that its vehicle fleet is already 16.6 percent more fuel-efficient than it was in 2005.
The trucks deployed in San Francisco are powered by Navistar International’s Navistar E-Star lithium batteries and have a range of about 100 miles. This doesn’t work for longer rural routes, but for urban deliveries, EV trucks can operate well within the range of lithium batteries and can be easily recharged. FedEx is also experimenting with hybrid-electric trucks, biodiesel, and natural gas. The company has also converted 20 percent of its diesel pickup and delivery fleet to cleaner emission models.
- Planning to add 87 all-electric trucks to its fleet, bringing the EV count to 130.
- Purchasing vehicles with the right-sized engines such as Sprinter vans manufactured by Mercedes-Benz. FedEx plans to have more than 11,000 such vehicles in service, more than 35 percent of its U.S. fleet. Sprinter vans are roughly 70-100 percent more fuel-efficient than the trucks they replace.
- Adding 114 Reach composite-body trucks manufactured by Utilimaster on an Isuzu Motors chassis and smaller engine, that combined with a lower-weight design, is expected to save close to 35 percent in fuel over conventional walk-in vans.
- Testing FedEx Ground hybrid hydraulic parcel delivery trucks that can reduce fuel use by 40 percent.
- Testing six standard delivery trucks retrofitted with EV drive trains from suppliers including AMP, Smith Electric, and Freightliner Custom Chassis.
All-electric delivery trucks don’t come cheap. The Navistar vehicles being rolled out cost nearly $150,000, up to three times more than FedEx usually pays for trucks. But the vehicles operating costs are 70-to-80 percent lower than traditional diesel-burning vans, according to D. Mitchell Jackson, FedEx staff vice president for environmental affairs and sustainability.
Another fleet of EV trucks is being readied for release in Asia and Europe, and FedEx currently operates all-electric trucks in London and Paris. In New York, the company is working with utility company, Con Edison, along with Columbia University to develop artificial intelligence to optimize charging facilities for all-electric trucks.