FedEx Express has added 1,900 fuel-efficient vehicles to its fleet. The company says the new vehicles move it closer toward its goal to improve the fuel efficiency of its vehicle fleet 30 percent by 2020, against a 2005 baseline.
In 2008, FedEx set what it says was the US transportation industry’s first fuel efficiency goal with a commitment to improve the overall fuel efficiency of the FedEx Express vehicle fleet 20 percent by 2020, as compared with its 2005 performance. In March — seven years early — FedEx Express surpassed this goal with a more than 22 percent cumulative improvement in fuel economy for its vehicles and revised its fuel-efficiency goal to 30 percent.
FedEx Express says it is taking a three-tiered vehicle strategy to improve fuel efficiency: reduce, replace and revolutionize. The company says matching the right vehicle to each route has made the biggest single impact on the fleet’s overall fuel efficiency.
As part of its strategy, FedEx Express has made the several recent purchases. FedEx Express has purchased 1,900 lightweight, composite-body Reach vehicles from Spartan Motors, a division of Utilimaster. These will join the 400 Reach vehicles already in service, giving FedEx Express the largest lightweight, composite-body vehicle fleet in the industry, with approximately 2,300 vehicles.
The Reach van, with its four-cylinder, 3.0-liter Isuzu diesel engine, demonstrates a 35 percent fuel efficiency improvement over traditional vehicles in the FedEx Express fleet, the company says. The lower-weight body design, along with the engine, allows every Reach to reduce fuel consumption and exhaust emissions compared to conventional walk-in vans.
FedEx is also working with XL Hybrids, a developer of low-cost hybrid electric powertrain systems, to convert 10 conventionally powered panel vans into more fuel efficient, hybrid vehicles. This conversion reduces fuel consumption and emissions, and will also extend the engine life in fleet vehicles by supplementing the necessary power with their hybrid-electric drive train.
FedEx Express is also working with the Advanced Vehicle Testing group at Argonne National Laboratory, using its Advanced Powertrain Research Facility to test and compare different models of electric vehicles, collecting performance data under various operating conditions. Argonne will collect the electric energy consumption of the vehicles to help determine the total cost of operating an electric vehicle fleet. The US Department of Energy has also provided funding for this testing initiative.