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Freightliner Custom Chassis ramps up hybrid delivery vehicle production

GAFFNEY, S.C. -- FedEx Express has added 18 hybrid electric-powered walk-in vans built by Freightliner Custom Chass...

GAFFNEY, S.C. — FedEx Express has added 18 hybrid electric-powered walk-in vans built by Freightliner Custom Chassis to its delivery fleet.

The vans are the first of their kind and FedEx Express says they will become a mainstay of the company’s stable of delivery vehicles. The vehicles deliver fewer emissions and improved fuel economy, the company says. Adding the hybrids to its fleet recently earned FedEx a 2005 Blue Sky Award from CALSTART, an advanced transportation technologies consortium.

FedEx currently operates the hybrid delivery vans in Sacramento, Tampa, New York and Washington. Freightliner Custom Chassis plans to build more than 100 more hybrids for FedEx and other customers this year.

“Freightliner Custom Chassis is extremely proud to be partnering with FedEx as we produce the chassis at our plant with the highly advanced Eaton hybrid-electric system,” says Joe Snyder, FCCC’s product manager for commercial vehicles. “This successful relationship once again puts us on the cutting edge of technology for light- and medium-duty trucks throughout the NAFTA region and the world.”

“The hybrid-electric vehicle is powered by an electric motor through an energy storage device developed by Eaton and a Mercedes-Benz MBE904 diesel engine from Detroit Diesel,” adds Mike Stark, senior technical sales manager for FCCC. “This combination of conventional diesel and electric propulsion systems provides the extended range and rapid refueling characteristics of a typical diesel engine plus the fuel efficiency and lower emissions of an electric motor.”

The walk-in vans are built on Freightliner Custom Chassis’ MT-45 chassis platform and have a GVWR of more than 15,000 lbs. FedEx officials claim the vans have delivered fuel economy improvements of more than 50 per cent while reducing emissions by 90 per cent compared to traditional vehicles.

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