Photo: Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC)
Moving Goods Around Needs to Become Greener Too
The van in the photo above is 100% electric and the first commercial vehicle to use batteries by Tesla Motors. It was made by Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) and Morgan Olson LLC, has a gross vehicle weight rating of between 14,000 and 19,500 lbs (6,350 to 8,845 kg), and an electric driving range of 100-mile (161 km, so not for long-range deliveries)."Built of lightweight, durable composites that are completely recyclable, the interior of the cab features an automotive-style interior intended to maximize driver comfort and productivity."
As you can see in the photo, the van looks quite "slippery" because lots of attention was also paid to aerodynamics. This is particularly important with an electric vehicle since every little improvement helps to squeeze out as much range as possible. But the same attention to detail should also be given to regular diesel vehicles. No reasons to waste fuel just because it's easy to get a long range.
Along with the all-electric chassis, FCCC manufactures the compressed natural gas (CNG) WIV chassis, hybrid-electric vehicle (HEV) chassis, and will offer full production of the hydraulic hybrid vehicle (HHV) chassis in Q1 2011 for the walk-in van market segment.
Going 100% electric (and then buying green power) would be best, but until batteries can store more power, that will only work for companies whose drivers don't do more than 100 miles/day. For the others, hybrids and CNG models should be considered.
All of these types of "alternative fuels" utility/delivery vans could help improve the air quality in urban areas where most of these diesel delivery vehicles spend their days idling and driving at relatively low speeds.
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