Print 38 comment(s) - last by luceri.. on Jul 26 at 10:41 AM

Hybrids will be used in California

Hybrid vehicles are considered by many carmakers to be a jumping off point for fully electric vehicles once battery technology improves. Hybrids save drivers on fuel and produce fewer emissions as well.

Typical hybrid vehicles -- like the Toyota Prius -- are small cars designed for average consumers. However, larger vehicles like FedEx delivery trucks can accommodate hybrid technology as well. FedEx has announced that it has added 92 new hybrid trucks to its delivery fleet. The addition of the 92 new hybrid trucks brings the total number of hybrids in the FedEx fleet to 264.

Prior to the addition of the new vehicles FedEx had 174 hybrid delivery vehicles in its fleet. FedEx says that its hybrid fleet has logged more than 4 million miles since it was introduced in 2004 and has reduced the amount of fuel used by 150,000 gallons and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 1,521 metric tons.

That is the same as removing 279 cars from the road each year according to FedEx. The FedEx vehicles in question are converted standard delivery vans and were created during the last six months. The conversion process created 50 new temporary jobs in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. The converted hybrid vehicles replaced the standard engine, fuel tank, and drive shaft with a hybrid-electric system produced by Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation and Eaton Corporation. All of the vehicles converted by FedEx were 2000 or 2001 models with 300,000 to 500,000 miles driven.

"The conversion of these standard FedEx trucks into hybrids is the latest milestone in our drive to advance and adopt hybrid technology into our fleet and the broader industry," said John Formisano, vice president, Global Vehicles, FedEx Express. "FedEx and our suppliers have demonstrated that converted hybrids are a viable, lower-cost option compared to purchasing new hybrids. We now need government incentives to end a Catch-22 situation: Production volumes are low due to high cost, and costs will only come down with higher production volumes."

The new hybrid vehicles will mostly be placed into service in California in the LA, San Diego, and San Francisco areas. FedEx says that incentives in place in California helped make it possible to add the hybrid vehicles to its fleet.

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RE: Converting older trucks
By nvalhalla on 7/23/2009 12:34:51 PM , Rating: 2
I thought the same thing. If it was only marginally more than replacing the drivetrain with standard parts, it would be very worthwhile.

RE: Converting older trucks
By Nobleman00 on 7/23/2009 12:59:49 PM , Rating: 2
FedEx says that incentives in place in California helped make it possible to add the hybrid vehicles to its fleet.

I figure they:

Replaced the engine with a smaller gas engine to charge the batteries and added an electric plant to drive the powertrain.

Reaped tons of incentives and benefits from CA.

Repurposed the gas engines as spare parts for their existing full-gas fleet.

Win-win plus fuel savings if you ask me. In most metro areas, these trucks drive from base to delivery area, then it's all day moves of about 100 feet from block to block, then drive back to their base at the end of day. The runs to and from base would require gas, and provide the charging time, but during deliveries, if it was all downhill, they could probably coast from block to block with no gas or electricity.

RE: Converting older trucks
By AEvangel on 7/23/2009 1:16:16 PM , Rating: 2
I think the re-purposing of the vehicles is also a really good investment whether or not the Hybrid really does do that much better then it's gas counterpart the idea of recycling older trucks, then reusing the old parts is truly more environmental friendly then all those people out there trading in their SUV's for Brand new Prius.

RE: Converting older trucks
By Mitch101 on 7/23/2009 1:45:01 PM , Rating: 2
I asked for something like this a while ago.

I like my car and would like to see an option to make it more hybrid. I cant say full Hybrid because I'm sure the engineers take the cars weight and other items into consideration. It might not be ideal but let say its $10,000 to convert my car into a hybrid drivetrain. Well it would cost me $23,000 for a comparable replacement car and since the interior and body of the car are in great shape I would consider doing this. The car is out of any warranty but if the replaced drive train came with one I would consider doing this.

Save a car from going to the landfill. They could probably recycle the engine and trans on my car to someone else.

RE: Converting older trucks
By Spuke on 7/23/2009 1:56:10 PM , Rating: 2
I cant say full Hybrid because I'm sure the engineers take the cars weight and other items into consideration.
As long as you stay under the cars GVWR, you would be fine (brakes are rated for GVWR). You might lose some passenger and luggage capacity though. Some cars are barely able to accommodate passengers with luggage so car choice would be important.

RE: Converting older trucks
By Samus on 7/23/2009 5:12:23 PM , Rating: 2
Brakes usually need to be upgraded on stock vehicles, anyway. Especially Chrystler's. There's no reason my SVT Focus has half the stopping distance from 100mph than a Camry, which 1000 times more people drive, just because my rotors are 2 inches larger.

RE: Converting older trucks
By Alexvrb on 7/23/2009 11:29:05 PM , Rating: 2
No reason? I hope you're being sarcastic. In addition to being a smaller, lighter vehicle, the SVT model Focus is a "high performance" variant. Hardly fair to compare it to a typical Camry. You said it yourself, the front rotors have a nearly 2" larger diameter. That's a big difference in swept area (times 4 surfaces) especially when coupled with appropriately-sized pads and larger calipers. Probably has larger rear brakes as well, and less brake fade period as a result of bigger and better-ventilated rotors and different pad formulation. Factor in grippier tires (factory tires on everyday models tend to be cheap and designed with fuel economy in mind) and if you didn't stop in half the distance from 100 MPH I'd be downright disappointed.

RE: Converting older trucks
By lightfoot on 7/23/2009 4:54:07 PM , Rating: 2
Save a car from going to the landfill.

Cars are not sent to landfills - the steel is far too valuable. Good parts are stripped from the vehicle and the rest is crushed and recycled. There is very little waste in the process.

RE: Converting older trucks
By grandpope on 7/23/2009 3:02:56 PM , Rating: 4
but during deliveries, if it was all downhill, they could probably coast from block to block with no gas or electricity

In my day, we used to deliver packages on foot, uphill both ways, in 10 feet of snow!

RE: Converting older trucks
By Hiawa23 on 7/23/2009 3:24:44 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds great. I wonder, does the US Postal also use hybrid vehicles? I think all govt entities should use hybrids or electric vehicles in their fleets, if they don't already. Could save the tax payers alot of $$$, better for the environment.

RE: Converting older trucks
By teldar on 7/23/2009 3:45:08 PM , Rating: 2
The Post Office hasn't taken tax payer money other than as stamps since the 70's I believe. They are not at all funded by taxes anymore.

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