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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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And prices go up...
By smackababy on 7/23/2009 1:06:42 PM , Rating: -1
FedEx is doing a great service to environmentalist whackjobs with this, and have a good reason to hike up the already nearly double the UPS price even more!

RE: And prices go up...
By MrUniq on 7/23/2009 1:43:54 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't seem like a move to appease any 'environmentalist'. Just a business decision to use the latest technology to cut costs and potentially increase profits.

RE: And prices go up...
By brybir on 7/23/2009 5:46:41 PM , Rating: 1
It is a business decision that is made possible indirectly because of the "environmentalists".

These conversions are expensive. If they could stand on their own (i.e. the hybrid system had a defined positive ROI) they would not need to be making the comments about needing government incentives to get the volume moving.

If it was profitable FedEx, UPS, USPS etc and every other large volume freight transport company would start using them, which would drive up volume and thereby decrease costs. The fact that the FedEx rep says that their is a catch-22 and they need government money implies that this conversion may not be profitable on its own merits.

So, they do the conversions and operate the vehicles in states that give massive subsidies to companies that reduce emmissions, i.e. California. These subsidies would not exist if it were not for the environmentalist types in california (and other states) that keep passive large state level subsidies for hybrid technology.

This is not to say I do not like the idea. I think some of the best use for hybrid type technology is in our trucking and hauling fleets. But I do not like the idea of large government subsidies (i.e. me and you paying for it) to force these changes along. Subsidies are how we ended up with things like corn-ethanol dominating the alternative fuel scene at the expense of much better ideas.

RE: And prices go up...
By TomZ on 7/24/2009 4:00:04 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly right - good analysis. To summarize, if this move made sense w/o subsidies in terms of ROI, they would upgrade the entire fleet. So it seems logical that they are looking for taxpayer dollars to do the upgrades in order to get the environmental (and PR) benefits.

RE: And prices go up...
By ClownPuncher on 7/23/2009 1:55:04 PM , Rating: 3
It saves them money, I really doubt "enviro-nuts" are the driving force behind this descision. Breathe deeply into the paper bag.

Anecdotally, I have had nightmare service from UPS, generally favorable interactions with FedEx...I will gladly pay a few extra dollars so my box won't have a foot-shaped hole in it. But I don't see how saving themselves money would induce a rate-hike.

RE: And prices go up...
By SirKronan on 7/25/2009 5:04:45 PM , Rating: 2
To me this looks like a situation were everyone wins.

1. Extend the life of old cars that, other than worn out engines, are perfectly fit for duty.
2. Less pollution
3. The hybrids likely operate a little quieter
4. Much cheaper fuel expenses.

They put so many miles on their vehicles that they will see the costs come back in savings.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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