Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) and Enova, a developer of proprietary hybrid-electric and all-electric drive systems and drive system components for the emerging green commercial vehicle market, has launched a program to make electric vehicles more accessible to fleets.
The Green for Free program allows fleet executives to purchase all-electric vehicles for the cost of a diesel-powered commercial vehicle. The savings fleets incur from the reduced maintenance and fuel savings of the electric vehicles (EVs) is then used over a period of time to cover the incremental expense for the technology.
The Green for Free program will utilize the FCCC All-Electric Walk-in Van (WIV) chassis powered by the Enova drive system. Fleets with set routes in pickup and delivery applications are ideal for the Green for Free program because they have predictable drive routes and return each night to the company depot. FCCC is already well-established in the market and can provide immediate volume, which is required to reduce high-cost components, such as batteries. Additionally, the project looks to focus on disciplined duty cycles, utilizing 80% of the battery daily, versus design for extended range.
“FCCC and Enova recognize that the Green for Free program is necessary in order to make all-electric vehicles more affordable, and therefore more accessible, to fleets,” says Bob Harbin, FCCC president. “We want to help those fleets interested in reducing their energy consumption and environmental impact by enabling them to purchase more alternative-fuel vehicles at one time because of the reduced upfront costs.”
The commercial vehicle market has relied on government funding for alternative-fuel vehicles with some success. However, this is the first program that will eliminate the overall incremental costs associated with buying and operating an all-electric vehicle, making the program attractive to fleets that are both large and small.
FCCC and Enova plan to deploy a total of 3,000 alternative-fuel vehicles within a two-year time frame beginning no later than the third quarter 2012 as a result of the Green for Free program.
Enova and FCCC developed an integration method for both new and retrofit applications. FCCC’s all-electric chassis is built upon the FCCC MT-45 chassis – known for its durability and GVWR of 14,000 to 19,500 lbs. – which is capable of handling heavy payloads. FCCC maintains a dominant market share in the WIV chassis market, which it expects to continue to expand.
“This business model has the potential to stimulate tremendous and rapid growth, helping achieve economies of scale through cost reduction, resulting in an excellent value proposition for the commercial fleet operator,” says Mike Staran, Enova president and CEO. “Enova has been delivering proven electric drive systems to a diverse set of domestic and international customers and has the distinction of seeing more of its green drive systems on the road than any of its competitors. The company continues to build on more than 20 years of innovation and traces its roots back to General Motors’ EV1 electric car.”
FCCC was the first chassis manufacturer to bring the hybrid-electric vehicle and all-electric vehicle to market.