Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (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 percent of the battery daily, versus design for extended range.
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.
FCCC says it was the first chassis manufacturer to bring the hybrid-electric vehicle and all-electric vehicle to market.