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Green Fleet Roundup: FedEx to Test Nissan, GE and PayPal, E15 Warning

FedEx will this month begin testing Nissan’s 100 percent electric e-NV200 commercial vehicle in Yokohama, Japan. The e-NV200 test model, which will be used for about one month, will be evaluated for its potential for the delivery of international air cargo. This will be the second test conducted with FedEx, following a similar trial in Europe last year. In May, British Gas tested the Nissan e-NV200 in an effort to determine which of its 14,000 drivers’ daily travel patterns are best suited to an electric van’s typical working range.

GE Energy Industrial Solution’s WattStation electric vehicle charging stations will use PayPal as its exclusive payment provider under a strategic agreement between the two companies. PayPal will be included in the WattStation Connect mobile app, which will allow drivers to find the nearest WattStation EV charger, check the status of the charger, get pricing details and pay for the charge. GE this spring unveiled a software platform and connectivity features for its WattStation charging device. The system allows WattStation owners to manage charging stations remotely, set customers pricing and generate reports.

E15, the fuel blend that contains five percent more ethanol than the current U.S. standard and is now available at one gas station in Lawrence, Kansas, has prompted the Kansas Petroleum Council to issue a warning to drivers. KPC Director Ken Peterson said E15 could damage vehicle engines as well as boats, recreational vehicles and lawn equipment. The EPA requires E15 retailers to label the fuel, which has been approved for use in flex-fuel vehicles and late-model passenger cars made since 2001.

The price of an automotive lithium-ion battery pack could drop from the current $500-600 per kWh range to about $200 per kWh by 2020 and about $160 per kWh by 2025, according to a report by McKinsey & Co. In the U.S., if gasoline prices are at or above $3.50 gallon, automakers that acquire batteries at prices below $250 per kWh could sell electric vehicles that compete, on a total-cost-of-ownership basis, with vehicles powered by advanced internal combustion engines, McKinsey said.

Audi has developed a free iPhone app designed to track journeys via GPS and calculate the business expense, such as gas costs, they generate in an effort to help fleet operators increase efficiency. The Audi Mileage Tracker app, which is available on iTunes, allows business users to enter the amount normally claimed per mile or kilometer, and to apply that rate to a particular trip. The app uses GPS mapping to log the trip in real time.

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