LATHAM, NY – FedEx Express is hybridizing some of its electric delivery trucks.
The Memphis, TN-based company is taking part in a US$3 million project being funded by the US Department of Energy. The other participants are Kansas City, MO-based Smith Electric Vehicles and Latham, NY-based fuel cell technology company Plug Power Inc.
Plug Power will add 10-kW hydrogen fuel cell range extenders to 20 FedEx Express lithium-ion battery-powered trucks. The extenders will be based on Plug Power's GenDrive Series 1000 product architecture.
According to Plug Power, by using the fuel cells, FedEx Express will be able to almost double the range of the electric trucks. which can currently travel approximately 80 miles on a single charge.
“Early customer experiences with electric delivery vehicles have been overwhelmingly positive. But only 1% of these vehicles are electric today; we think that this range extender provides the added distance and quick refueling capabilities needed to really grow this market,” said Andy Marsh, Plug Power CEO.
Plug Power expects FedEx Express to experience a 50% improvement in overall fleet efficiency when the hydrogen cells are added. It also expects the trucks will demonstrate a 35-40% reduction in fuel expenses when compared to similar diesel-powered vehicles.