For delivery companies, such as FedEx, UPS, and USPS, electric vehicles have only been useful for short routes, but the addition of a hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) range-extender could solve that problem.
Currently, FedEx uses Smith Electric Vehicles delivery vans, which have a range of about 80 miles per charge. For local deliveries, this 80-mile range doesn’t present much of a problem, but many routes cover over 150 miles in one day. Clearly, 80 miles falls well short of these longer routes. Conventional delivery vans have plenty of range, but get only about 10 MPG, which is bad for FedEx’s bottom line and emissions. An electric vehicle range-extender could help, but would add to emissions if it was gasoline-powered or diesel-powered.
A hydrogen fuel cell range-extender would effectively double the range of FedEx’s electric delivery vans, to about 160 miles. At the same time, it would add very little weight, and no emissions to the electric-vehicle. Emissions-reduction is important, but the cost reduction is far better for FedEx’s bottom line. FedEx estimates that, including electric vehicle charging stations and hydrogen refueling stations, they can save as much as 50% in refueling costs, when compared to conventional delivery vans.
FedEx isn’t the only company considering hydrogen fuel cell range extenders, the French postal service is considering the same technology, reducing refueling costs and nearly eliminating emissions. At same time, they will not need to rely on fossil fuels for any of their delivery needs.