Monday, October 12, 2009

Greener Commercial Transport Vehicles

Greener commerical vehicles reduce harmful emissions and lower operating costs. Truck transporation is crucial to our economy, however, combustion engine powered trucks contribute to global warming. As the world moves to technologies that reduce carbon-dioxide emissions, many companies are seeing the value of greening their fleets.

FedEx has introduced 92 hybrid-electric trucks to its delivery fleet. Staples recently received hybrid and all-electric delivery trucks, they have also added some interesting features to their fleet including changed the top speed of its delivery trucks to 60 miles per hour and installing a system that automatically shuts trucks off after three minutes of idling.

One British maker of zero-emissions commercial trucks is already looking to turn a profit. This year (2009) Modec Ltd. will produce about 300 6-ton trucks, powered by lithium-ion batteries. In 2010, the truck maker expects orders to more than double. There are currently 40 Modec trucks operating in France. ElecTruckCity, the French distributor of Modec trucks, expects to sell about 1,500 units annually by 2012.

The US Department of Energy (DoE) has shown its support for light commercial hybrids by providing a $45.4 million grant to South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) for the development of a plug-in hybrid electric power systems for 378 demonstration trucks and shuttle buses. The program will deploy commercial hybrid vehicles in over 50 utility and municipal fleets nationwide.

The Balqon Corporation has released a battery powered heavy duty truck worldwide. The Mule 150 comes with a heavy duty electric drive system and lithium ion batteries and can reach 55 miles per hour. It has a range of 150 miles on a single charge and a seven ton capacity. The Mule 150 comes with many features including, a six speed automatic transmission, LCD display and keypad operator information systems, plug and play self diagnostic electronics, a quick change battery module, a high efficiency AC induction motor, and liquid cooled traction controls. It also includes wireless performance monitoring.

Iveco's prototype of the Electric Daily in Brazil is destined to be the first zero emission light commercial vehicle produced in Latin America. The project is a collaborative effort between Iveco and Itaipu Binacional. These pioneers of zero emission transportation use a sodium, nickel and chloride battery that is emissions and maintenance free and totally recyclable. This vehicle also uses a regenerative breaking system to help recharge batteries. The vehicle has a range of 100 km and reaches a fully laden top speed of 70 km/h.

The Electric Daily has awakened the interest of many companies in both Brazil and in Argentina. A second prototype based on a different configuration of the Daily is already planned for 2010.

Chinese auto manufacturer Suzhou CMEC Co. Ltd offers a light electric truck with a range of 70km (loaded) and a maximum speed of up to 35 mph or 56kph. Last year Mitsubishi introduced a whole new range of electric forklift trucks with the latest advanced technology in the industry including regenerative braking system, performance mode setting and on-board diagnostics.

Fortune 500 companies, (including Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Coca-Cola, Staples, Frito-Lay, AT&T and Kansas City Power & Light) are taking delivery of the Smith Newton, the largest road-going electric truck in North America. The Smith Newton is emissions-free, runs without noise or vibration, and reclaims electric energy through regenerative braking.

Darren Kell, CEO of The Tanfield Group Plc, which owns Smith Electric Vehicles, said: "The electric vehicle technology delivered to these customers today can readily be delivered to fleets in every major town and city in North America. The Smith Newton provides depot-based truck fleets with a realistic, zero emissions transport solution that both lowers greenhouse gas emissions and helps improve air quality in our urban centres."

Powered by the latest lithium-Ion batteries and a 120kw electric motor, the Smith Newton has a payload of up to 7,300kg, a top speed of 50mph (80km), and a range in excess of 100 miles (160km) on a full charge. It takes six hours to recharge.

Missouri Senator Kit Bond, said,"These next generation electric vehicles Smith is producing demonstrate exactly the kind of technology we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and end our dependence on foreign oil."

The Smith Newton is Ireland’s leading electric commercial vehicle and was recently the recipient of a Fleet Transport Irish Truck of the Year Award. David Mullen, Managing Director of Electric Vehicles Ireland, the country’s sole importer and distributor of Smith Electric Vehicles, said:“Three years ago, no one would have believed that a twelve tonne electric truck would be on the roads as a real, viable alternative to diesel vehicles...The fact that Fleet Transport has added an electric vehicle category to its awards is testament to how mainstream commercial EVs have become.”

Some electric trucks can be as much as twice the price of diesel powered trucks, but as volumes ramp up the cost of EVs will drop. Electric Vehicles International (EVI) is offering competitively priced commercial transport electric vehicles. The eviLightTruck has a top speed of 60 mph and a wide array of customizable battery configurations. It can also be outfitted with a hybrid drive for extended range. The eviRoute 1500 has a 40-mile range and is a low-speed electric truck. EVI trucks provide small to mid-sized business owners with the opportunity to reduce their operating costs while helping the environment.

Companies efforts to make their fleets more environmentally friendly are being driven by environmental sensitivities. Although this can help improve a company's image, widespread adoption of EV for commercial transportation will be driven by cost.

The reduced fuel and maintenance costs of electric trucks make them more cost effective over a 5 year period when compared to diesel trucks. Electric trucks have what it takes to benefit the environment and the bottom line.
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NEXT: Toyota's Greener Vehicles / Nissan's Greener Vehicles / Honda's Greener Vehicles / Korean (Hyundai & Kia) Greener Cars / European Greener Cars /American Greener Vehicles (Ford's Greener Vehicles / GM's Greener Vehicles) / Government Investment in Greener Vehicles

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That would be a great investment for the environment. These vehicles will be the next asset of every city.

John@Salaries