Training for the Hybrids
After a couple of days in the hybrid trucks, everyone who gets behind the wheel to start one of these new vehicles will look at me with a surprised look and say, “this is weird!.”
It’s weird because when the hybrid starts up, it doesn’t feel like it is starting. And when it does finally come completely on the diesel engine is not as loud as before. The cabin doesn’t feel the same as with a typical delivery truck. Then the truck starts to move and there are even more strange looks and comments.
Enter Bill Pearson with the FedEx Express training department.
It’s Bill’s job to train the couriers in California who will be behind the wheel of these new retro-fitted truck. I caught up Bill on the phone once I found out that there was a training process associated with these trucks.
I asked Bill what was the difference between driving one of these hybrids versus a typical truck. He tells me because it’s a hybrid powered by two different fuel sources the truck inherently operates differently. The trucks operate on an automated manual transmission, and drivers quite effectively feel when foot comes off the throttle. The hybrids will manually shift. So that’s a manual transmission that shifts automatically
Bill will train the couriers to understand that this is not the typical vehicle. He will work with them to understand:
- how to prep their truck at the beginning of the day
- to understand what new safety issues arise with the fleet
- to understand what to expect from driving with the auto-regeneration hybrid engine, the difference in the starts and stops of the truck.
- the new warning lights on the dashboard
- and because the diesel particulate reduction system, they will learn there is another level of maintenance intervention needed
These trainings have been taking place in California with the first hybrids that arrived. When these final 25 reach their final destinations, this is what the FedEx Express couriers who will be driving these vehicles will be taught to ensure safety on the road.