First commercial models may be available later this year.
Hybrids Work For Parcel Delivery
Just last month, the U.S. Postal Service launched its first hybrid delivery vehicle, powered by Vancouver-based Azure Dynamics' hybrid
The Post Office joins UPS, FedEx and Purolator, all of which have already been testing hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) in their delivery fleets. Atlanta-based UPS, which recently ordered 50 hybrid vehicles from International Truck and Engine and Freightliner LLC, expects those vehicles to reduce its annual fuel consumption by more than 44,000 gallons and to reduce the amount of carbon-dioxide emissions into the atmosphere by 457 metric tons a year.
"We're excited to be among the first to deploy this latest in HEV technology because it promises a 35 percent increase in fuel economy in
addition to a dramatic decrease in vehicle emissions," says Robert Hall, UPS' fleet environmental manager.
FedEx began testing hybrids in 18 of its delivery vehicles in Washington, New York, Tampa, FL, and Sacramento, CA, in March 2004. It has found that the vehicles, called the OptiFleet E700, are decreasing particulate emissions by 96 percent and nitrous oxide emissions by 85 percent while traveling 57 percent farther on a gallon of fuel and reducing fuel costs by more than a third, according to Sid Gooch, managing director of global vehicles at FedEx Express.
Based on its early results, FedEx plans to buy an additional 79 hybrids throughout 2006, with the bulk of them going to supplement its fleet in New York.
Similar results are being seen at Purolator, which has reportedly ordered 115 more units from Azure Dynamics.
"With the high cost of fuel we could all feel a panic at the pump today, and while drivers could choose to drive less, delivery fleets don't have that option," says Elizabeth Sturcken, who manages corporate partnerships for Environmental Defense, another non-profit organization. "Fortunately, solutions like the ones demonstrated by FedEx could lead to real savings at the pump and for the environment."