Hybrid Delivery Trucks Make it to the Big Apple

Package delivery routes in New York City are fraught with idling engines and double-parked nightmares. But FedEx is expanding its OptiFleet E700 hybrid truck fleet into the city to try and clear the air, at least some of it.

The company has placed 10 low-emission, hybrid electric delivery vehicles in New York City just in time for the holiday peak season. FedEx has operated two hybrid trucks in California since March of 2004, and the New York launch is a joint initiative with Environmental Defense, Eaton Corporation and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). “Governor Pataki has made a commitment to New Yorkers to improve air quality throughout our State, especially here in the New York City area,” said Peter R. Smith, President of NYSERDA. “The promotion and use of low-emission, energy-efficient hybrid vehicles is a critical step in achieving cleaner air and a healthier environment.” Hybrid electric vehicles began delivering packages on routes in the New York metropolitan area following an agreement with NYSERDA to demonstrate the viability of lower-emission hybrid powertrains in heavy-duty vehicles. The research organization awarded federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality funds to FedEx Express through the New York City Department of Transportation, which supports the project as well. Work on the project began four years ago when Environmental Defense, an organization that is recognized for its work with industry leaders to create environmental and business innovations, approached FedEx Express about working together to create the next generation delivery vehicle. Ohio-based Eaton Corporation is an industrial manufacturer of medium and heavy-duty truck components, and produced the hybrid-electric powertrains for the E700 fleet. Eaton’s hybrid-electric powertrain combines a diesel engine and electric motor, and a computer determines the most efficient combination depending on current operating conditions and driver demand. A four-cylinder engine replaces the six-cylinder version currently used in the standard FedEx Express W700 delivery vehicles. Engine size is reduced in the E700 because of the added power provided by the electric motor, and a particulate trap has been added to the truck to further reduce emissions. Batteries capture and store energy during regenerative braking, and provide a source of stored electric power for the motor during future acceleration. All electrical charging of the battery is provided by the hybrid electric powertrain, and no external electrical infrastructure, such as a power cord or electrical outlet, is needed. The FedEx hybrid electric vehicle has shown decreases in particulate emissions by 96 percent and travels 57 percent farther on a gallon of fuel, reducing fuel costs by over a third. That’s good news for any city that has a regular traffic load of delivery vehicles. “New York City is a dynamic economy with many trucks on its streets essential to keep commerce moving, so it is important that we continue to develop innovative solutions to reduce vehicle emissions,” said John Formisano, who is the vice president of Global Vehicles at FedEx Express. “(The New York) roll-out not only represents one-half of FedEx’s total commitment for these vehicles this year, but is also a positive step in our commitment to effective environmental management as a global corporate priority and in the local communities we serve.”
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