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FedEx Introducing Its First Battery-Electric Parcel Delivery Trucks in US

FedEx is targeting battery electric technology for vehicles in its fleet covering less than 5,000 miles per year. Hybrids have their “sweet spot” in the 15,000-25,000 mile/hear range. Source: John Formisano, SAE 2010 Hybrid Technology Symposium. Click to enlarge.

FedEx Corp. is expanding its alternative-energy vehicle fleet with the first all-electric FedEx parcel delivery trucks in the United States. Four purpose-built electric trucks are slated to hit the road in the Los Angeles area starting in June 2010. FedEx already has 10 Modec electric trucks in service in London (earlier post), with five more on order for Paris. Globally, FedEx has more than 1,800 alternative-energy vehicles already in service.

FedEx is purchasing its first North American all-electric vehicles from two different suppliers to evaluate the robustness of this technology for demanding daily FedEx Express deliveries in the Los Angeles area and provide information to help guide future FedEx vehicle purchases.

  • Two of the new all-electric trucks come from Navistar, and are being assembled in Indiana. These are based on the Modec design already operated by FedEx in Europe. This vehicle will be capable of traveling 100 miles on a charge, and carrying more 3,000 pounds (1,361 kg) of freight, according to John Formisano Vice President, Global Vehicles, FedEx Express

  • Another pair of electric vehicles is being purchased from a different manufacturer for delivery to the Los Angeles area later in 2010. Both sets of electric vehicles are designed with a range that allows many FedEx Express couriers to make a full eight-hour shift of deliveries before their vehicles need recharging.

The FedEx Modec-Based electric truck—one of two electric truck models to be tested in LA—on Route 66. Click to enlarge.

A FedEx-branded prototype all-electric truck from Navistar is being unveiled today at an event in Chicago to kick-off a demonstration tour of the technology. The vehicle will be operated for FedEx customers, employees, and local officials in several stops along historic Route 66 between Chicago and Los Angeles.

The “Charge Up Route 66” tour is intended to pay homage to America’s transportation past and the facilitation of inter-city commerce furthered by development of early highways such as Route 66. FedEx is tracking the tour on a website,

The electric truck demonstration tour is also designed to underscore a national initiative advocated by Frederick W. Smith, president, chairman and CEO of FedEx Corp., in testimony to a US Senate subcommittee last month. Smith called for a comprehensive program to encourage affordable electrification of local transportation to foster more domestic energy production, less reliance on imported petroleum, and an overall reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

FedEx currently operates the largest hybrid fleet in the transportation industry, along with one of the largest alternative energy vehicle fleets, and is committed to improving its overall vehicle fuel efficiency 20% by 2020. In conjunction with Environmental Defense Fund, FedEx led the launch of the development of the first commercial-grade hybrid-electric delivery vehicles.

That hybrid-electric technology has now been adopted by more than 100 fleets, and the FedEx hybrid vehicle fleet recently passed the five million mile mark in daily service-the equivalent of 200 trips around the Equator. FedEx also works closely with organizations like CALSTART to encourage the development of market-ready alternative energy commercial vehicles.



A good first step using current battery technology.

Future e-vehicles should have better payload to total weight ratio to get more Km/miles per Kwh.

An ultra light weight on-board genset would not be a luxury.


Depending on routing, these work vehicles could rely on strategic charging stations where a driver could plug in for a quick charge during lunch. Routing vehicles to recharge points during regular breaks, could lengthen duty cycles.

Smith is doing a good job leading this high profile company to electrification. No small task for a weight dependent delivery system.

fred schumacher

5,000 miles per year for the battery powered vans is virtually useless for range. That's less than 20 miles per day and would hardly get you from the terminal to your first drop and back.

I used to be a utility/relief driver for Fedex Ground in Southern Minnesota and drove almost every route over a 20 county area. The shortest run was the Mankato city run at 90 miles and the longest was Saturday rural Home Delivery at 300 to 350 miles. Average runs were between 150 and 250 miles per day.

fred schumacher

Re: "these work vehicles could rely on strategic charging stations where a driver could plug in for a quick charge during lunch. Routing vehicles to recharge points during regular breaks"

I don't know where this time will come from unless the work load is reduced. Most of the time you're hustling constantly and there is no time for lunch or breaks. You just throw a frozen burrito on the heater vents and eat it while you drive.


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