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FedEx Expands Hybrid Fleet

Engaged in a race aimed more at cutting costs than helping the environment, large car fleet operators will soon become a gold mine for hybrid and electric vehicle manufacturers. Whereas the United States Postal Service (USPS) is testing Chrysler's Town and Country all-electric minivans, private operator FedEx decided to go the other way and convert its vehicles to hybrid, with the help of Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) and Eaton Corporation.

As a result, the addition of 92 trucks increases the FedEx fleet of hybrid-electric vehicles by more than 50 percent, from 172 to 264. So far, the existing FedEx hybrids, introduced in 2004, helped reduce fuel use by 150,000 gallons and carbon dioxide emissions by 1,521 metric tons, the equivalent of taking 279 cars off the roads each year.

FedEx turned hybrid model year 2000 and 2001 trucks, with 300,000 to 500,000 miles driven. The hybrid trucks are projected to improve fuel economy by 44 percent, decrease particulate matter by 96 percent and reduce smog-causing (NOx) emissions by 75 percent compared to the standard FedEx Express delivery truck.

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,”John Formisano, vice president FedEx Express said in a release.

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 FedEx trucks will rejoin service in California, mostly in the Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco metropolitan areas.


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