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Charging Up For An Electric Future

By FedEx | January 31, 2023

In a bid to meet our goals to electrify our entire delivery fleet, we’ve been busy testing and deploying zero-emissions electric vehicles in some of the busiest cities in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

When it comes to mapping the roads and cities of the future, one word counts: electric.
As the world transitions to more sustainable solutions for transportation, governments, businesses and service providers are all seeking greener ways to connect and power how we live and work. At FedEx, our journey to electrification is one we’ve been on for some time.
In 2003, we set a record for being the first delivery company in the world to use hybrid vehicles for pickup and delivery. And way back in 1994, we even operated our first electric vehicle – a lead- acid battery-powered vehicle in California. We've long been an advocate for alternative forms of energy. Fast forward to today and we’re well on our way to an electric future for our ground delivery fleet across the globe.
In the almost 30 years since that first EV, electric vehicle and battery technology have made huge strides. So much so that it’s expected that 145 million electric vehicles will be on the road by 2030 (including electric cars, buses, vans, and heavy trucks). Traditional automakers are quickly pivoting to hybrid or fully-electric vehicles, and public transportation and service vehicles are being reinvented as we look at ways to drastically reduce emissions worldwide.

At FedEx, we’ve committed to key sustainability milestones over the next two decades, pressing ahead with our ambitious goal to be completely carbon-neutral by 2040. On the EV front, we plan to transform our entire parcel pickup and delivery fleet to zero-emission electric vehicles by 2040. We also have a goal to convert 50% of global pickup and delivery vehicle purchases to electric by 2025, increasing to 100% by 2030.
But how do we go about making these plans a reality - and what do electric vehicle pickup and deliveries look like in our cities and on our roads? To start with, we’re conducting trials and deploying EVs in key cities across the region to pave the way for future roll-outs. Across the broader Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa region, we’ve deployed electric vehicles in a number of countries, with the region’s largest EV fleet in China.
Read on to find out where we’ve been focusing our electrification efforts across the region as we shape our strategy for what’s next:

India presses ahead with electric vehicle options

Our EV trial in India kicked off in Bangalore in January, 2022. With a gigantic population and a reliance on road networks for inner-city transportation, India continues to address serious issues of urban pollution and global warming as a result of vehicle emissions. And these issues are set to intensify: by 2030, car ownership is projected to triple, rising to 10.5 million car sales annually. EV trials here set the pattern for the rest of the region: to test EV technology within FedEx Express operations by assessing the vehicles’ operational effectiveness on a standard route fully loaded with packages.
Following positive trial results, we introduced EVs in Delhi earlier this year, deploying TATA Ace EVs on the roads to drop off packages. While around 8% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in India are from the transport sector, in Delhi, it exceeds 30%. Electrification is going to be critical to secure a cleaner future.
Last-mile delivery is on the rise thanks to rapid e-commerce growth. Each new electric vehicle added to the FedEx delivery fleet in India will reduce fuel consumption and emissions equivalent to five passenger cars .

Addressing last-mile delivery from Bangkok to Beijing

Elsewhere in Asia, we introduced electric vehicles in Thailand in April 2022. The EV trial here coincided with our 40th anniversary of operations in Thailand. Focusing on how deliveries in the heavily congested Thai capital can be made greener in future, we’re taking another step on our long-term commitment to the country, making communities where team members live and work more sustainable.

EVs have also been deployed in Tokyo, Japan since 2016. Zero-emission, all-electric vehicles are part of a pickup and delivery fleet that also includes hybrid and natural gas-fueled vehicles.
China is the largest EV market in the world, leading the entire Asia Pacific region in innovation and adoption of electric cars. In many cities in China, you’re just as likely to see drivers charging their EV batteries than filling up at the fuel pumps.

We began testing electric vehicles in China back in October 2021: but with a difference. Not only are our delivery vehicles electric, they’re autonomous, too. We collaborated with leading autonomous tech company Neolix to test autonomous vehicle deliveries in Beijing.
It’s the first time that we’ve partnered with a local Chinese technology company to test the use of a driverless vehicle. The unmanned delivery vehicle is zero-emission and all- electric with L4 level autonomous technology. As well as self-driving tech and the ability to use AI to monitor route conditions, the Neolix vehicle can carry cargo of up to 500kg and reach 100km on a single charge.
Since trials began we’ve been testing a variety of operational applications in different scenarios, including delivery to a campus, office buildings and stations over different time periods. Results and customer feedback will be collated so that we can fully optimize the last-mile delivery experience for customers in the future.

Migrating towards electric deliveries in the Middle East

In Middle East, governments and businesses are coming together to frame the sustainability policies of the future. The United Arab Emirates has launched the UAE Energy Plan 2050, which aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 70%, increase clean energy use by 50% and improve energy efficiency by 40%. Electrification of vehicles will be an important factor in achieving these goals.

At the end of 2022, we rolled out our first EV trial in the Middle East in Dubai. Using one-ton electric trucks that combine low-energy consumption and high performance, the EVs will be used for parcel pickup and delivery across strategic locations in the United Arab Emirates. We’ll be studying the performance of our first zero-tailpipe emissions vehicles for FedEx in the Middle East and North Africa region, evaluating operational effectiveness on typical routes while carrying a full load of packages.

Sustainable delivery project in South Africa

Africa has a way to go yet to match some of the sustainability initiatives that have been launched across the globe, but South Africa is leading the charge. 2021 saw us conduct our first EV tests in Africa in the city of Johannesburg. Not only did the vehicle perform well when travelling to and from customer sites, but it handled local streets and conditions efficiently. FedEx employee Lefa Halahala was the first team member to test the electric vehicle on his delivery route. “The car was great to drive! It has a lot of space, and I drove the whole day on one battery charge. I’m happy to be a part of South Africa’s sustainable future, and proud that FedEx has committed to making sure this technology works for our customers, our drivers, and our conditions.”
Following the positive trial results, we’re now finalizing plans to introduce permanent electric vehicles to our vehicle fleet in South Africa. Electric vehicles provide a technologically advanced, clean, and smart solution for e-cargo mobility. The trials we are running across the region and globally are a critical pathway to how we fully integrate of electric vehicle technology across our operations. Finding the right technology to serve our business, our customers, and our team members is key.

Electrification means a host of benefits beyond the environment

The environment isn’t the only beneficiary of vehicle electrification. Our future EV fleet electric vehicles can improve how we deliver for:
• Communities: Reduced emissions will mean more livable urban spaces and residential neighborhoods, with lower carbon emissions positively impacting health and reducing noise pollution • Couriers: The safety and comfort of our drivers can be enhanced with our EVS, thanks to seat and steering wheel ergonomics, 360° camera, single pedal driving and a quieter, smoother delivery experience overall. EV trucks also have an anticipated longer lifespan than diesel trucks due to fewer moving parts • Customers: Zero-emissions deliveries means a lower carbon footprint for your business, allowing you to deliver a more positive delivery experience to your end customer
At FedEx, we have ambitious sustainability goals. With more than 200,000 motorized vehicles in our fleet, it’s our responsibility to work to reduce our carbon emissions. Our phased approach to vehicle electrification is a crucial part of our roadmap to reduce environmental impact in pursuit of a greener world.
And as the world has moved online in recent years, the increasing popularity of e-commerce means sustainable operations are more important than ever. By making the move to all-electric delivery vehicles, we – and the logistics and transportation sector as a whole – can help advance emissions reduction goals.
For more information on our global electrification program, head here. For more sustainability stories and trends across Asia and beyond, visit our Sustainability page now.

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