WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 22, 2005--FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX), has announced plans to add up to 75 hybrid, diesel electric trucks to its service fleet in the next 12 months, contingent upon pricing and availability. The announcement coincided with the unveiling of two FedEx hybrid trucks in the nation's capital on Thursday, which brought the company-wide total of hybrid trucks in use to 18.
"Placing hybrid trucks in Washington D.C., and the planned increase for next year reflects the growing viability of hybrid trucks," said John Formisano, vice president of Global Vehicles, FedEx Express. "It also shows the commitment of FedEx to pursue the use of promising technologies that both reduce fuel costs and provide more environmentally responsive vehicles for the communities in which we live and work."
The Washington D.C. rollout is a joint initiative with Environmental Defense and Eaton Corporation (NYSE: ETN).
The FedEx Express E700 hybrid electric vehicle decreases particulate emissions by 96 percent and travels 57 percent farther on a gallon of fuel than a conventional FedEx truck, reducing fuel costs by more than one third.
The project began four years ago when Environmental Defense, an organization recognized for its work with industry leaders to create environmental and business innovations, and FedEx Express began working together to create the next generation delivery vehicle.
"The commitment by FedEx to purchase hybrids demonstrates the business viability of these trucks on the road," said Gwen Ruta, director of Corporate Partnerships, Environmental Defense. "As fuel prices continue to rise, fuel efficient trucks are an investment that every company should be making. And since hybrids also reduce air pollution, oil dependency and climate change, they're not only good for business but good for America."
Cleveland, Ohio-based Eaton Corporation, one of the world's most recognized industrial manufacturers, produced the hybrid electric powertrain for the vehicle.
"Eaton continues to be pleased with the performance - and the potential - of our advanced technology hybrid powertrain system," said Jim Sweetnam, senior vice president and group executive of Eaton's Truck Group. "The system is working extremely well in FedEx Express trucks in Sacramento, New York City and Tampa with high reliability, and we look forward to continued success with the Washington, D.C. roll-out. In order to encourage wider adoption of hybrid technology, we need the support of Congress for the passage of incentive tax credits for purchasing this clean, fuel-efficient technology. Doing so would provide benefits for our communities, our environment and our nation."
FedEx currently has 18 hybrid trucks in service in Sacramento, New York, Tampa and now Washington, D.C. The vehicles are performing exceptionally well. They have experienced up-time ranging from 96 to 99 percent, which is impressive for any new vehicle considering that the average up-time for rest of the fleet is 99.6 percent.
The trucks are meeting environmental goals based on recent lab testing at the Southwest Research Institute, which found a particulate matter reduction of 96 percent, a NOx reduction of 65 percent and increased fuel efficiency of 57 percent, compared to the 1999 baseline vehicle. New trucks are expected to be placed in Texas and New York City.
The project partners, Environmental Defense, FedEx and Eaton, have worked closely with a number of suppliers to find innovative, effective solutions to allow greater adoption of hybrid electric vehicles by more fleets around the country. Freightliner Custom Chassis was instrumental in supplying the chassis and assembling the 18 vehicles that have been placed into operation over the past year, starting in Sacramento. Utilimaster, Hitachi and Detroit Diesel each provided key components and worked with project partners to customize their components for the hybrid trucks.
Power of Innovation Produces New Vehicle
FedEx Express and Environmental Defense began working together in 2000 to create a delivery truck that would dramatically decrease emissions and fuel use.
Through a competitive process, Eaton Corporation was selected from more than 20 manufacturers who expressed interest in creating a cleaner vehicle using a variety of technologies. Since the beginning of the project, progress toward goals has been assessed against the 1999 FedEx Express W700 standard delivery vehicle, which represented the most common model in the FedEx Express fleet.
Eaton's Innovative Technology Produces Hybrid Electric Powertrain Eaton's hybrid-electric powertrain effectively combines a diesel engine and electric motor to drive the vehicle. A computer determines the most efficient combination, depending on current operating conditions and driver demand. A four-cylinder engine replaces the six-cylinder version currently used in the FedEx Express W700 delivery vehicle. The engine size is reduced because of the added power provided by the electric motor. A particulate trap has been added to the truck to further reduce emissions.
Batteries capture and store energy during the "regenerative braking" phase of the vehicle's operation, providing a source of stored electric power for the motor during future acceleration. Therefore, all electrical charging of the battery is provided by the hybrid electric powertrain, and no external electrical infrastructure, such as a power cord or electrical outlet, is needed. This balance between conventional and electric technology is an innovative method to improve environmental performance and decrease fuel use while eliminating the need for high electrical-demand infrastructure costs. The hybrid electric truck's operating characteristics will remain virtually unchanged from that of a conventionally powered FedEx Express vehicle.
Eaton's hybrid electric powertrain has been placed in the standard white FedEx Express W700 delivery truck, which utilizes a Freightliner chassis and a Utilimaster body. The hybrid electric E700, which bears an OptiFleet brand decal on the sides and rear of the vehicle, has a gross vehicle weight of approximately 16,000 lbs. and a cargo capacity of approximately 670 cubic feet.