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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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RE: Converting older trucks
By TomZ on 7/23/2009 1:24:06 PM , Rating: 2
I think this is a great way to continue using older trucks but I wonder how much the conversion cost was. Anyone know?
I don't know the costs, but I'm sure it was expensive. But even if the ROI is not there from the fuel savings, it makes for nice PR, since all companies want to advertise they are "green." I'm sure you'll see this fleet in a lot of FedEx ads in CA.

RE: Converting older trucks
By WSCC on 7/23/2009 2:05:53 PM , Rating: 2
The cost of the project is half the cost of buying a new truck.

RE: Converting older trucks
By TomZ on 7/23/2009 3:20:54 PM , Rating: 2
How much are those delivery trucks? $50K? $100K? Do you happen to know the number of miles to break-even for this conversion?

RE: Converting older trucks
By Spuke on 7/23/2009 5:25:23 PM , Rating: 2
It's probably over $100k for the truck like the one pictured above. I think the Sprinter van trucks are $50k.

RE: Converting older trucks
By The0ne on 7/23/2009 5:50:39 PM , Rating: 2
It seems to me a win-win for the company taking the leap. They get the PR which makes customers and consumers happy and it "could" pay off in the long run in savings.

Happy customer and consumer will, for example, be more acceptable to a price hike. Or for converted trash trucks they're willing to pay more taxes :D

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