The largest order of alternative-fuel commercial vehicles to-date was placed with Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) today by UPS. The order, consisting of 200 hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) and 300 compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles, is being manufactured on FCCC's walk-in van MT45 and MT55 chassis product line.
These "green" vehicles will be used by UPS for daily delivery operations across the United States and will function in concert with their current fleet of conventional diesel powertrain vehicles.
"This order reflects the proven durability, reliability, and cost benefits of operating FCCC's alternative-fuel vehicles. The technology is available now to begin to achieve both the environmental and fuel economy goals to meet our customer's operational requirements," said Mike Stark, FCCC Senior Technical Sales Manager of National Accounts.
FCCC also recently announced that the purchase of a hybrid electric or CNG chassis may result in substantial federal tax credits. The FCCC MT45/MT55 models utilizing the Eaton 44Kw Hybrid electric system may realize a $4,500 tax credit, while the CNG powered chassis equipped with the 5.9-liter, Cummins B Gas Plus Natural Gas engine may qualify for up to $25,000 is tax credits.
FCCC is the first manufacturer in the industry to introduce hybrid commercial vehicles into fleet operations, with over 160 HEVs in service since 2004, in addition to over 1,000 CNG-fueled chassis in service since 2000.
The hybrid-electric powertrain, combined with a diesel engine and electric motor, drive the FCCC chassis to achieve an over 40% improvement in fuel economy and an over 90% reduction in emissions compared to baseline non-hybrid vehicles, while demonstrating an over 99% of in-service up time.
The 200 hybrid electric vehicles will be deployed in 2009 and join the 25 FCCC HEV delivery trucks already in operation. The 200 trucks are expected to save 176,000 gallons of fuel annually and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1,786 metric tons each year.
The hybrid electric vehicles purchased by UPS are powered by Cummins ISB EPA07 200-horsepower diesel engine in conjunction with the Eaton hybrid power system. The hybrid motor / generator driven by lithium-ion batteries offers a seamless combination of diesel and electric power on a chassis rated up to 29,000 lbs. GVW.
The proven hybrid technology includes the introduction of two innovative features critical for the Walk-In van application: a new low-profile shift control on the hybrid drive unit (HDU) and an integral parking pawl.
The new HDU shifter arrangement allows for a completely flat floor in the driver's area with no need for cab structure modifications. This offers a more ergonomic interior for the operator and increases driver safety.
The innovative integral parking pawl allows for the transmission output shaft to be locked when the shift selector is in the "park" position. This new feature, along with the foot-applied parking brake, allows for a safe and reliable means to secure the vehicle.
The additional 300 CNG chassis will be deployed in late 2008. The purchase of these vehicles reflects the growing customer demand for alternative solutions to meet current fleet fuel conservation goals.
The FCCC MT45/MT55 CNG model chassis', are powered by a Cummins B Gas Plus dedicated CNG engine with a 195 horsepower rating of 195 with an Allison 1000/2000 series transmission. FCCC CNG vehicles feature a GVW of up to 29,000 lbs.
The fuel system includes twin seamless aluminum fuel cylinders with a carbon-fiber shell and stainless steel fuel/vent lines for a light weight and non-corrosive system. This fuel system will provide a nominal 275 mile fuel range.
The incorporation of proprietary protective crash barriers / shields around the fuel tanks aids in increasing the protection of the CNG system. A "Smart Start" electric fuel disconnect switch is also featured on the CNG fuel fill receptacle. The vehicle's ignition system is disabled by the "Smart Start" while the vehicle is being fueled and will not start until the fuel cap is secured.