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Green Fleet Roundup: FedEx Express, GE, GM, Chargepoint, Volvo

fedexFedEx Express has introduced its new 767-300 cargo jet scheduled to begin service this fall.  The freighter is approximately 30 percent more fuel efficient and has unit operating costs that are more than 20 percent lower than the MD10 aircraft it will replace, FedEx says.

GE Capital’s Transportation Finance business and Clean Energy Fuels, the largest provider of natural gas fuel for transportation in North America, have entered into a strategic alliance to accelerate the conversion of heavy-duty trucking fleets from diesel to natural gas. Under the plan, truck fleet operators will work with Clean Energy to develop natural gas fueling contracts, and then apply for loans and leases, including fair market value leases, from GE Capital to acquire trucks from manufacturers that produce commercial natural gas vehicles. Clean Energy will then help offset the monthly cost of newly acquired natural gas vehicles to make it consistent with the cost of a diesel truck, if the customer makes a fuel commitment.

ChargePoint and Key Equipment Finance have launched a $100 million lease-to-own program for electric vehicle charging stations. The program aims to help small- and medium-sized companies and municipalities install electric vehicle chargers at no upfront cost.

Volvo Car Group has developed a flexible, chargeable material for use in electric vehicles that can be shaped to fit existing cavities in a car. The “battery” was created by combining carbon fibers and a polymer resin, creating an advanced nanomaterial and structural super capacitors. The reinforced carbon fibers sandwich the new battery and are molded and formed to fit around the car’s frame, such as the door panels, the boot lid and wheel bowl, substantially saving on space, Volvo says.

Chemical company Clariant is supplying a proprietary developed CO2-synthetic natural gas catalyst for the methanation unit of Audi’s new power-to-gas facility in Werlte, Germany. The so-called “e-gas plant” will produce an average of 1.4 million cubic meters of renewable synthetic methane per year, chemically binding some 2,800 metric tons of CO2 and equivalent to supply 1.500 new Audi A3 Sportback g-tron vehicles with an annual mileage of 15,000 CO2 neutral kilometers.

Alcoa has created what it calls the most advanced aluminum wheel alloy in 45 years. The new lightweight alloy, called MagnaForce, is on average 16.5 percent stronger than the industry standard, Alcoa’s 6061 alloy, in similar applications. Alcoa will use the material to manufacture wheels for commercial transportation, where lighter weight products that increase fuel efficiency are in high demand.

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