18 Oct 23

FedEx Express saves 11.2t of CO2 per van per year with eLCVs

FedEx Express Europe is saving up to 11.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide per vehicle per year by switching its diesel vans to Mercedes-Benz eSprinters, as the company begins the transition of its parcel pick-up and delivery fleet in Europe to electric light commercial vehicles.

The transportation giant has set a global target for 50% of all its newly-procured parcel pick-up and delivery vehicles to be electric by 2025, and has just taken delivery of 23 eSprinters for its operations in and around London.

By the end of this decade, 100% of its new vehicle orders should be battery powered, which will have a huge impact on the business’s carbon footprint – it aims to be carbon neutral by 2040.

CO2 savings

According to the GLEC framework (the global method for calculation and reporting of logistics emissions) and using operational averages, FedEx estimates that using an e-LCV in place of a diesel van saves approximately 10t of CO2 per vehicle per year in tailpipe emissions, with the figure rising to 11,6t when well-to-wheel emissions are taken into consideration.

Robert Peto, Vice President Operations UK, FedEx Express, said: “We are adopting a phased procurement approach and prioritising the locations where EV adoption is most practical for our own operations, with a view to reducing tailpipe emissions in urban centres.”

In Europe and the UK, FedEx Express is focusing first on the electrification of its 3.5t light commercial vehicles, and has not had to adapt its operations to take account of the different duty cycles of eLCVs. Its pick-up and delivery vehicles need a battery range of 150-300km to replace diesel vans, depending on the local operations and the density of the pick-up and deliveries.

“The EV market now offers a comparable vehicle type and specifications that match or exceed the diesel vehicles we operate in our Europe-wide owned fleet,” said Peto. “Geographically, FedEx Express has focused on where EVs can feasibly be introduced in place of diesel vehicles – reducing tailpipe emissions to zero and ensuring compliance with low or ultra-low emissions zones, while also ensuring energy supply and infrastructure can be designed to meet onsite charging needs at our facilities overnight.”

Overnight depot charging

All of the pick-up and delivery vehicles owned by FedEx Express will charge at its depots overnight, so they can begin the next daily route with full battery capacity. In the UK, the company has installed level 2 AC chargers, with a maximum charge speed of 11KwH, although charging speeds are likely to be slower due to the dynamic power management system adopted by depots. Dynamic management levels out electricity consumption and utilises local energy supply as efficiently as possible, prioritising slower charging for longer periods while the vehicles are at standstill.

“We have taken care to plan the introduction of EVs in sites where we have confirmed adequate charging infrastructure and sufficient renewable energy supply in order to charge the desired number of vehicles in full, overnight. As a ballpark, we aim to have 10-12 hours of vehicle downtime overnight, in which to charge fully,” said Peto.

FedEx Express has also future-proofed its charging infrastructure by installing more charge points than it currently needs, anticipating future demand.

The eSprinter is similar in size and characteristics to the Mercedes-Benz vans that it replaces, allowing for a like-for-like transition, and Peto said drivers were reporting how much they enjoyed the quietness of the new zero emission vans.

TCO implications

He also expects the battery-powered models to deliver total cost of ownership benefits in the longer term.

“While there is a higher investment in procuring battery electric technology, due to upfront cost of the vehicle, we anticipate that the total cost of ownership will deliver a financial return over the lifetime of the vehicle,” he said.


Image: FedEx Express, shutterstock_2354400451

Authored by: Jonathan Manning