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FedEx Converts 92 Delivery Trucks to Hybrids, Expanding Hybrid-Electric Fleet by 50%

FedEx Corp. has added 92 hybrid-electric trucks to its delivery fleet by converting standard FedEx delivery trucks to hybrid-electric systems. The addition of the 92 trucks increases the FedEx fleet of hybrid-electric vehicles by more than 50%, from 172 to 264.

The hybrid conversions were produced in Charlotte, N.C. over the past six months. The converted hybrids were developed with Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) and Eaton Corporation, which provided the hybrid-electric systems (earlier post). The standard FedEx trucks used in the retrofit program were 2000 or 2001 models with 300,000 to 500,000 miles driven.

An added benefit of the conversion program is that it not only reduces pollution but also extends the life of the vehicles, helping to eliminate waste production and creating a reduce-and-reuse program.

In converting the standard delivery vehicles, the powertrain equipment, including the engine, transmission, fuel tank and drive shaft, were replaced with a Cummins 6.7L ISB EPA 07 200-hp (149 kW) EGR diesel engine and Eaton hybrid-electric system, with Li-ion batteries for energy storage. (The baseline engine for earlier FedEx hybrids was a 5.9L, 6-cylinder, 175 hp Cummins ISB. Cummins increased the displacement of the ISB line to 6.7 liters for increased power, performance and productivity.)

The hybrid controller selects the most efficient mode of operation—diesel, electric or blended—depending upon current operating conditions and driver demand. Costs were reduced by utilizing the existing chassis and body.

The retrofitted hybrid trucks are projected to improve fuel economy by 44%, decrease particulate matter by 96% and reduce NOx emissions by 75% compared to the standard FedEx Express delivery truck. The 92 retrofitted hybrid vehicles will be placed into service in California, primarily in the Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco metropolitan areas.

FedEx and our suppliers have demonstrated that converted hybrids are a viable, lower-cost option compared to purchasing new hybrids. We now need government incentives to end a Catch-22 situation: Production volumes are low due to high cost, and costs will only come down with higher production volumes.

—John Formisano, vice president, Global Vehicles, FedEx Express

Formisano applauded the California government for continuing to provide incentive funding for hybrid truck purchases, which allowed FedEx to place its first hybrid truck into service in the state in 2004 and continue to add hybrids to its fleet during the past five years.

The FedEx hybrid-electric fleet has logged more than four million miles of revenue service since being introduced in 2004, reducing fuel use by 150,000 gallons and carbon dioxide emissions by 1,521 metric tons.

In addition to the use of 264 hybrid vehicles in North America, Asia and Europe, FedEx has taken the following steps to increase vehicle fuel efficiency and reduce emissions in its fleet:

  • Since 2005, FedEx has been rebalancing its fleet with smaller, more fuel efficient sprinter vans and optimizing routes. As a result of these efforts, FedEx Express has saved 45 million gallons of fuel or 452,573 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

  • FedEx Ground is testing hybrid hydraulic technology with Parker Hannifin Corporation and FCCC on a heavier-class vehicle (Class 6).

  • In London, FedEx operates liquid petroleum gas (LPG) sprinter vans, which reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 12 percent. FedEx will also use 10 zero-emission Modec electric delivery vehicles in the United Kingdom. FedEx Express has more than 320 LPG and electric-powered support units in use at the Roissy Charles de Gaulle hub in Paris and other operational facilities across Europe.

  • FedEx operates a large number of electric and alternative-fuel support vehicles worldwide, including more than 500 forklifts and 1,600 ground equipment units at airports.

  • Couriers in New York City and London’s West End deliver many of their packages on foot and bicycle.


Henry Gibson

Conversions are very useful. An automobile was converted to hydraulic hybrid operation without any change in engine with a result of half the fuel consumption in standard tests. The hydraulic motor-pumps had electric valve control. The technology was sold to Bosch.

Now that GE is going to make ZEBRA type batteries, they will be more available to add cheaper, longer electric range.

Delivery Truck fleets are very suitable for using electricity or natural gas because they have more space and shorter ranges. Many small tanks can be fitted into unused space in trucks with little increase in weight over a larger single tank.

Natural gas, methane, can be fed into the intake air of diesel engines to reduce the need for diesel to a small percentage, but full diesel operation is always available when the methane runs out. Methane can be made quickly and cheaply from corn, starch, sugar and good or rotten potatoes or food.

Thanks to FedEX for their experiments. ..HG..

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