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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The Real Question
By siliconvideo on 7/23/2009 12:51:06 PM , Rating: 1
The real question should be "Do these conversions really reduce CO2 emisions?

1) How much CO2 emissions occurred during construction and installation of the conversion kits?

2) Which vehicle, hybrid or combustion engine has lower total CO2 emissions when moving 1 ton of cargo across town?

For question number 1, no matter what, it takes some energy/CO2 to build and install the conversion kits. I just don't know how much. For question number 2, I contend that it takes the same amount of energy to move that cargo in either vehicle version, except the the hybrid version will use less since when it idles it uses zero energy and regenerative breaking will help some too.

Overall we must look at the full product life cycle to determine if this approach really reduces CO2 footprint or if this is just a feel good measure for FedEx.

At this point I probably don't even need to mention that the hybrid version will cost more then the original version.

RE: The Real Question
By Jimmybones on 7/23/2009 1:18:13 PM , Rating: 3
You raise some very good points but unfortunately we are missing on key piece of information.

What would have happened to the trucks if they were not converted.

It seems to me by choosing such old fleet vehicles they were destined for destruction.

Based on this we would have to then compare the CO2 cost of a completely new vehicle creation/delivery vs the conversion creation/delivery/installation.

While we all agree that a hybrid does cost more. We also need to know what is the cost difference between a regular and hybrid if they were to be ordered new.

Then attempt to factor in the recovery time from fuel savings(if there is any) and maintenance costs and such.

A complex issues for which we lack a lot of data.

RE: The Real Question
By luceri on 7/26/2009 10:41:34 AM , Rating: 3
That's exactly why they did it probably -- Complex issue with no real world data, only theoretical arguments going both ways. Large company like FedEx -- This number of trucks is nothing. It's more an experiment than anything else probably for the future; Expensive now sure, but let's get some data on it and by the time results are out perhaps will be less so.

RE: The Real Question
By barrychuck on 7/23/2009 1:19:48 PM , Rating: 5
While I normally support the questioning of the whole chain from energy source to final consumption, it's not a viable arguement in this case.

No more energy/CO2 emissions is created making a hybrid drivetrain than creating a similiar non- hybrid and installing it. Get a grip on reality. What we are disccussing here is a high milage fleet vehicle that is having it's drivtrain swapped at a normal overhaul cycle with a hybrid one. The hybrid combustion engine produces less carbon emmisions per mile driven due to the fact less fuel is used per mile. Nobody ever said it was a miracle engine.

These vehicle do way more stops and idles in a given day, than any other vehicle fleet, which just happens to be the peak of hybrid benifits.

This beats building a new vehicle by a long shot and thus the whole process produces less CO2 emmision than building a new Prius. Not to mention, we are talking about a fleet of high mileage vehicles driven every day almost all day long.
Honestly, how much CO2 do you think it takes to replace an engine in a car?

In short, you are ill informed at best.

RE: The Real Question
By michal1980 on 7/23/2009 2:18:17 PM , Rating: 1
Really it takes no more co2 to build a hyrbrid sytem vs a normal gas engine?

Lets see:

Both gas and hybrid have a gas engine, so lets makeing those engines is cO2 neutral.

But the hybrid has at the very least:

a 2nd hybrid engine/motor
a large set of batteries
a regen braking system.

There is no way that the co2 creation for a hybrid system is less then that of a standard ice engine

RE: The Real Question
By Parhel on 7/23/2009 2:49:03 PM , Rating: 2
You can't count up the number of parts and multiply it by 'x' to get total CO2 emissions. Might as well say that a hamburger with ketchup and pickles caused twice the carbon emissions of a plain hamburger. It may be true, it may not be, but that logic fails.

RE: The Real Question
By lightfoot on 7/23/2009 5:07:50 PM , Rating: 2
More parts involves more manufacture and more assembly. The only possible savings is if the hybrid engine can be made small enough to offset the cost of the other parts.

It is very unlikely that both power trains cost the same amount in either dollars or energy consumed. The hybrid will cost more, and will pollute more during manufacture and installation.

I do agree that a FedEx truck is very likely to recoup all additional costs, so the point is not relevant.

RE: The Real Question
By michal1980 on 7/23/09, Rating: 0
“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls

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