Fleet electrification? What’s that? Amazon orders 20,000 fossil-powered vans

Delivery trucks are ideal candidates for electrification, and they deliver long-term cost savings as well as cleaner air and quieter operation. Major fleets around the world, including FedEx and USPS, are testing them. A few operators have already passed the pilot stage, and placed substantial orders: Deutsche Post designed and built its own electric delivery vans; UPS has been testing e-vans from various vendors for several years – in June it ordered 950 electric delivery vans from Workhorse. Class 8 long-haul trucks are also destined for electrification – Walmart, JB Hunt, Anheuser Busch, PepsiCo and other trucking industry players have placed pre-orders for the Tesla Semi.

Meanwhile, Amazon is moving in the opposite direction. The online retailer is in the process of setting up its own network of independent delivery contractors, and has ordered 20,000 fossil fuel-powered Mercedes Sprinter vans. That’s a lot of smoke-spewing trucks – arguably enough to negate all the emissions gains from all the other US delivery fleets’ electrification efforts to date.

Mercedes has opened a new $500-million production facility in South Carolina to build the legacy Sprinter vans. As CleanTechnica reports, all of these vans will be powered by gasoline or diesel engines. An electric Sprinter is in the works, but Mercedes declined to say if it will be available in the US.

In the UK, Amazon is adding solar panels and battery storage to its fulfillment centers, and the company has made vague statements about a “long-term commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy usage for our global infrastructure.” That’s why it’s puzzling that the company seems to be moving back to the 20th century when it comes to its delivery fleet.

According to CleanTechnica, “there is no indication that anyone at Amazon even thought about creating a fleet of zero- or low-emission vehicles.

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Source: CleanTechnica, Daimler