FedEx has announced it has placed a reservation for 20 Tesla Semi trucks. The trucks will be operated by FedEx Freight, its less-than-truckload unit.
FedEx playing catch-up with its rivals
Two of FedEx's biggest rivals, UPS and DHL, have well-established environmental credentials.
Last year UPS reserved 125 Tesla trucks. This is part of a continuing environmentally-friendly push from UPS, building on its successful Billion Cleaner Miles project.
UPS plans that 25% of new vehicles purchased annually by the year 2020 will be alternative fuel or advanced technology vehicles, up from 16% in 2016. The company also set a new goal that by 2025, 40% of all ground fuel will be from sources other than conventional petrol and diesel, an increase from 19.6% in 2016.
Deutsche Post DHL Group has an ambitious plan to become the first logistics company to reduce all logistics-related emissions to net zero by 2050. It already has a sizeable electric fleet, and has ordered 10 Tesla trucks.
So where does that leave FedEx?
FedEx's own environmental initiatives haven't generated the same impact as UPS and DHL's major green projects. But why?
FedEx ground uses contractors extensively, says Last Mile Experts' North American Managing Partner Dean Maciuba.
"How will it convince contractors to switch to electric vehicles that may suffer from limited range and high up-front purchase price? It will be simpler for FedEx to use electric vehicles on the Express side of the business where it owns its own fleet of trucks," according to Maciuba.
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