FedEx orders Reach commercial vans from Isuzu, Utilimaster

Isuzu Commercial Truck of America Inc., distributor of low-cab-forward trucks, and Utilimaster Corp., a manufacturer of walk-in vans and commercial truck bodies for the delivery and service marketplace and a subsidiary of Spartan Motors Inc., announced that FedEx Express has placed a large order for the all-new Reach commercial walk-in van. The vehicles, which provide both economic and environmental benefits, are to be delivered to FedEx by the end of 2011.

FedEx Express, the world’s largest express transportation company, has been operating five Reach pilot vehicles on multiple delivery routes in Arkansas, Tennessee and Michigan since the van’s introduction in March 2011.

The Reach is a smaller, more fuel efficient vehicle that can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 11 tons (or 22,000 pounds) per vehicle per year. The improved fuel economy and reduced carbon footprint are the result of an aerodynamic, lightweight composite body designed by Utilimaster atop a rugged Isuzu NPR ECO-MAX chassis powered by Isuzu’s 3.0-liter diesel engine.

“We have been working with Utilimaster and Isuzu since conception to develop a long-life, fuel efficient vehicle that supports the FedEx strategic sustainability objectives. They right-sized the engine down to a more fuel efficient three liters and reduced weight with composite material while maintaining a strong chassis and a spacious interior,” said Dennis Beal, vice president of Global Vehicles at FedEx Express, in a written statement. “The vans are performing well on our routes, and reducing our fuel costs as well as our carbon footprint.”

In addition to delivering up to 35 percent better fuel economy* than a traditional commercial van, the Reach also meets the most stringent emissions standards in the world. Isuzu’s 4JJ1-TC engine comes with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology with Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) injection reducing NOx levels in engine exhaust by 85 percent.

“We are thrilled that FedEx has recognized the potential of the Reach to offer fuel economy, durability and true commercial truck performance,” said Shaun Skinner, executive vice president and general manager of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America. “Today’s fleet and vocational buyers are looking for low cost of ownership, and this order proves that the Reach lives up to its name—it reaches a new standard in low cost of operation compared to traditional step vans.”

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Utilimaster guided the development of the Reach’s aerodynamic shape and conducted extensive wind tunnel testing that indicated the vehicle cuts through the air with a drag coefficient that is 13.1 percent lower than current competitive vans. The aerodynamic design, along with the use of composite materials, contributes to improved fuel efficiency and reduced interior noise. The lightweight composite materials provide a 700-pound weight savings compared to traditional aluminum and steel materials.

“The Reach provides a 35 percent improvement in fuel efficiency over alternative delivery trucks, which supports FedEx in attaining their 20 percent fuel efficiency improvement goal as part of their environmental policy,” John Forbes, president of Utilimaster, stated in a press release. “Our development team has worked closely with FedEx stations to review vehicle fuel economy and route performance on a monthly basis. The results are very positive. The Reach vans are operating on the most extreme delivery routes and performing very well.”

The Reach is available through Isuzu’s nationwide network of 300 dealers.