• Staples will advance its commercial delivery fleet by introducing 41 new all electric, class six trucks in California, Missouri, and Ohio this November. Thirty will operate in California, 10 in Ohio, and one in Missouri.

    The new all-electric delivery trucks are part of an ongoing fuel efficiency initiative to achieve a 40-percent improvement in fleet fuel economy by 2015. Having achieved a 30-percent improvement in fuel efficiency to-date, Staples is now working toward completing its goal.

    The Newton all-electric trucks, manufactured by Smith Electric Vehicles, will join Staples' existing delivery fleet of nearly 2,000 vehicles in North America. The trucks operate at a top speed of 55 mph and offer ranges from 50 to 120 miles on a single charge.

    "The addition of these all-electric delivery trucks is the latest example of our commitment to continually improve our delivery fleet and its impact on the environment," said Mike Payette, manager of fleet equipment at Staples. "Over time, we'll look to increase the number of these trucks in the Staples fleet as an effective way to service our delivery customers while reducing our carbon emissions.

    [via Fleet Financials]

    Photo courtesy of Graham Richardson and re-used under the Creative Commons license.

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  • The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is finishing planning on a long-term strategy aimed to completely overhaul the “safety culture” of drivers in the U.S. starting next year.  The plan – titled “Toward Zero Deaths: A National Strategy on Highway Safety” suggests re-engineering vehicles, improving roadway design, changing enforcement policies, and informing driver attitudes to make what Jim Toole, FHWA Associate administrator, calls “significant” reductions in highway fatalities and injuries.

    Though annual highway fatalities in the U.S. declined to a record low of 33,963 in 2009, Toole reminds drivers that  “the fact that we are ‘only’ killing just over 33,000 a year is not cause for celebration.”

    FHWA’s “zero death” focus will be on strategic changes that go beyond the “day-in and day-out” policies usually implemented and look at the root of traffic safety problems.

    One example would be far wider use of roundabouts to manage traffic at roadway intersections, rather than traffic lights. “It’s very hard to get killed in a roundabout, vs. the ‘T-bone’ style crash we see in standard U.S. intersections today,” Toole said. Another is more integrated planning of roadway design and construction between national, state, and local agencies.

    Toole said the “culture” aspect of FHWA’s plan is critical because people make decisions in contexts that are strongly influenced by their social environment. FHWA noted in a briefing paper on its new strategy that traffic crashes are not the result of isolated factors such as an icy road; rather, it is the combination of factors such as a driver deciding to speed on an icy road.

     “We also believe, by taking this broad approach to change the traffic ‘safety culture’ in the U.S., we can halve the annual number of projected fatalities by 2020,” Toole added.

    Road safety is very important for fleets.  Make sure that your drivers know the rules of the road and keep them accountable for their behavior!

    [via FleetOwner]

    Photo courtesy of bettyx 1138 and re-used under the Creative Commons license.

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  • With the new 2011 F-150, Ford is launching the most fuel-efficient full-size pickup of any manufacturer. The new 3.7-liter V6 model will deliver best-in-class 23 mpg highway, pending EPA certification. The 5.0-liter V8 model is projected to 21 mpg highway, also pending EPA certification.

    "The all-new engine lineup for the 2011 Ford F-150 is focused on delivering what matters most to truck customers - best-in-class power, capability, durability and fuel economy," said Barb Samardzich, Vice President of Powertrain Engineering. "Each engine offers an unequaled combination of these attributes."

    The improved efficiency of each engine is complemented by additional improvements to the transmission and other areas of the new F-150.

    The 6R80 six-speed automatic transmission has been upgraded to include SelectShift capability with progressive range select and manual mode, and the F-150’s transmission has been optimized for the new engines.

    Another fuel saver is the addition of electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) to the 3.7-liter V6, 5.0-liter V8 and 3.5-liter EcoBoost powertrains. The EPAS system replaces a conventional hydraulic system, which runs continuously off the engine, with a system that draws power only when needed. EPAS contributes about a 4 percent fuel-economy benefit compared with conventional hydraulic systems.

    Details on each new F-150 engine can be found here.

    [via Business Fleet]

    Photo courtesy of John Lloyd and re-used under the Creative Commons license.

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  • For those looking to see the next wave of auto trend and technology, keep your eyes out later this month. The 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show will feature 20 world debut vehicles and more than 30 North American debuts.

    Of the 20 world debuts, several have been already announced, including Nissan's redesigned Quest minivan, the Murano Cross Cabriolet crossover convertible concept, and a sedan concept called the Ellure. Land Rover will show its new 4-door Range Rover Evoque and SAAB will showcase the 9-4X crossover. KIA will unveil its first hybrid, the Optima sedan; Volkswagen will unveil its new Eos; and Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep plan to reveal a handful of products highlighted by the new Chrysler 200 sedan and convertible.

    The show will also feature more than 30 North American debuts, including the completely redesigned Hyundai Elantra. Audi, BMW, Porsche, Lotus, and Fiat will also unveil new models at the show.

    This year's show also features a new generation of electric vehicles. Chevrolet's range-extended electric Volt and Nissan's battery-electric Leaf will make appearances at the show, preparing for their rollout in Los Angeles as one of the first markets to receive the vehicles by the end of 2010. Many other electric and hybrid vehicles will be showcased as part of a large group of environmentally friendly vehicles.

    The 2010 LA Auto Show will be held Nov. 17 and 18 for the press and Nov. 19-28 for the public.

    [via Automotive Fleet]

    Photo courtesy of Rance Costa and re-used under the Creative Commons license.


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