FedEx Blog

FedEx Blog

The Wheels on the Trucks

August 24, 2011

GCR Environment and efficiency graphic

The wheels on the bus go round and round,
……..      round and round
……..      round and round

The human awe, fascination and the need for the wheel are deeply reflected in the playful songs and rhymes about the wheel. Being that my youngest child is 4 years old, my memory on most childhood rhymes has been recently refreshed (at times to my annoyance).

As we travel in planes, trains, and automobiles, we also create the need for goods movement and logistics. Until Scotty figures out the most efficient way to beam Captain Kirk up, the wheel is going to be an integral part of our existence.

Being the ‘wheels’ division of one of the largest logistical services provider, FedEx Express Global Vehicles is always looking for the most efficient means to power the wheels on our vehicles and ground support equipment. The average annual distance travelled by one of our pickup and delivery trucks in the United States is close to the equatorial circumference of planet Earth.

Given the scope and scale of our operations, an average truck does computationally go around the world.  Therefore, we are always looking for opportunities to economize and optimize on the energy that we use. So how do we economize and optimize on our energy usage? We do this by using efficient technologies available today and by being the visionaries who create the path for future technological developments.

Just like our personal wardrobes are stocked with appropriate attire for different occasions, our fleet is also stocked with different technologies for their respective missions. There is no singular technology today that efficiently meets the needs of all of our varied routes.

– On urban routes with a higher frequency of starts and stops, the electric drive trains (both pure electric and hybridized) prove most efficient. Their electric motors coupled with regenerative braking provide the most efficient use of energy on such urban routes.

– For extended routes that typically involve large proportions of highway driving, the range limitations of today’s electric vehicles and the reduced effectiveness of hybridized power trains on such routes make them less preferred tools. Appropriately sized and efficient conventional vehicles of today go a long way in reducing our energy usage on such extended routes.

Through the innovative principles of asset management and right sizing the vehicles and technologies, we have been able to avoid the use of millions of gallons of fuel a year. Innovation being the guiding principle, FedEx has and continues to invest heavily in the development of alternative drive trains and improving the energy efficiency of its fleet. We are well on our way to achieve the target of improving the fuel efficiency of our vehicles by 20% by 2020.

The vehicles in the Express fleet typically provide the first and the last miles in the package delivery cycle. The efforts of every field technician as well as office staff and management at Global Vehicles are dedicated towards providing safe, reliable and efficient equipment for the mission.

Every time we see an Express vehicle drive by, both mine and my son’s heart swell with pride and joy knowing that somehow we are a part of a group that makes:

The wheels on the truck go round and round
— all through the town

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