In 2003, we lived in Chicago, and hybrids were a real rarity — most people didn’t know what they were, and gas was still a ways below $2. Come 2004, and gas starts pushing up, but SUV’s are still selling just fine. Roll into 2005 — the gas price drama hits, and all of a sudden, fuel economy is back on the public radar and hybrid cars are selling like laughing Elmo dolls.
Now, 2007 is on its way and the chatter is noticeably dying down. But the two-year boost was enough that the green-car market is, in our wise judgment, mature enough now to survive no longer being the momentary trend.
So did anybody notice (and the answer is no) that FedEx and the Environmental Defense Fund rolled out a prototype hybrid delivery truck back before the hype?
Here are the quick hits:
- It’s a battery-electric, not a hydraulic hybrid like the UPS/EPA prototype
- 16 are on the roads now; 75 more will roll out within a year
- FedEx says the refit means over 50% better mileage, and that switching 10,000 trucks in for hybrid models would save a million barrels of oil each year
FedEx and EDF sound happy — the 75-more rollout is a great sign of commitment — but we thought battery hybrids didn’t generate the HP that big trucks needed. That was, after all, the reasoning behind UPS’s hydraulic system, non? Ah well, obviously we were misinformed.
Any word from the US Postal Service? Hmmmm? It turns out they’re late to the hybrid game, rolling out their first truck just this past summer. Here it is:
(Anybody else think the “Hybrid Drive” logo looks a little budget? We like cheap stamps, don’t get us wrong, but those block letters are one step above fridge magnets. Doesn’t exactly scream commitment, you know?)