There is a lot of buzz around eco-friendly passenger cars, however some truck manufacturers have also decided to go greener. Many companies are interested in hybrid and all-electric vehicles, but the price of the vehicles may be discouraging. That is why the U.S. government decided to help the industry develop.
US Government Grant
In March 2009 President Obama announced Transportation Electrification Initiative worth $2.4 billion. The money will go to support companies manufacturing advanced batteries and related drive components as well as for demonstration and deployment projects. The general aim is to accelerate and facilitate the market introduction of advanced electric drive and plug-in hybrid vehicles of all kinds.
Examples of Companies Testing Greener Trucks
Some examples of companies that that want to test the greener trucks include: UPS, Coca-Cola, AT&T or FedEx.
- UPS recently ordered 200 hybrid trucks. Thanks to the new vehicles in their fleet, the company aims to decrease fuel consumption by over 170,000 gallons a year which means a reduction of CO2 emissions by 1,786 metric tons. The vehicles purchased by UPS use a Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation body and a hybrid power system from Eaton Corporation. The trucks are equipped with diesel engines combined with lithium ion battery packs and regenerative braking system.
- AT&T has purchased all-electric Ford Transit Connect vans. The lithium ion batteries enable the vehicles to go up to 80 miles (129 km) on a single charge and at a top speed of 75 miles per hour (121 km/h). The van will be officially available in the second half of 2010.
- FedEx has also invested in a greener fleet. This year they have started testing an all-electric truck called eStar. It is a medium-duty vehicle with a range of 100 miles, fully rechargeable in 6 to 8 hours. A huge advantage of eStar is that the battery is a cassette-type one and can be changed in 20 minutes, which enables the truck to be used 24/7 if needed. FedEx claims that the operating cost of eStar compared to a standard truck is 30% lower. Will it be enough to cover the extra purchase price?
For the time being the governmental grants will help the green truck industry develop. Hopefully, in the near future the manufacturers will profit from economies of scale, and their vehicles will be attractive to buyers not only due to environmental concerns.