The benefits of having the right powertrain for the right application are being realized by FedEx Express.
Consider: This unit of FedEx Corp. set a goal to have a fleet of vehicles that is 20% more fuel efficient by 2020 compared with the baseline of 2005. At the end of FY2011, the fleet is already 16.6% more fuel efficient.
Not simply being content with what has been achieved, Mitch Jackson, staff vice president of environmental affairs and sustainability of FedEx Corp. said, “We are reevaluating our 2020 goal to potentially raise the standard we originally set out to achieve.”
(Photo: Business Wire)
The company is taking a portfolio approach to achieving this vast improvement in fuel efficiency. Explained Dennis Beal, vice president of global vehicles, FedEx Express, “By pursuing the most promising avenues of advanced technologies, enlisting multiple experienced manufacturers and optimizing our vehicle operations, FedEx is reducing fuel use and emissions faster than expected.”
Among the changes:
· Using vehicles with right-sized engines. They’re using Mercedes Sprinter vans that are anywhere from 70 to 100% more fuel efficient than the trucks they replace. By the end of FY13 they will have more than 11,000 of these in service, which accounts for about 35% of its pickup and delivery fleet.
· Using light-weight composite-bodied trucks. The 114 Reach vehicles are manufactured with materials by Utilimaster and an Isuzu Motors chassis. The expectation is fuel savings on the order of 35%.
· Retrofitting existing trucks with electric motor drives from companies including AMP, Smith Electric and Freightliner Custom Chassis.
· Increasing the all-electric truck fleet to 130 vehicles.
The company is particularly keen on its electric vehicle initiative. Said Mitch Jackson, “While we naturally want to reduce costs for FedEx, we also want to see all-electric trucks become more affordable and reliable for everyone from your local pizza parlor to other small businesses that deliver. This is a strategy for reducing reliance on petroleum-based fuels in a much faster, more inclusive and impactful way.”
As the technology proliferates, the cost will be driven down for everyone. So FedEx is delivering something else: A public service by its undertaking.