Fixing the fleets

A great story in the Sierra Club’s magazine this month, titled Fixing the Fleets, focuses on some of the positive steps several companies are taking to slash oil use, shift to electric vehicles, improve employee commuter benefits, and reduce their reliance on tar sands fuel.

Staples delivery truckWe especially like their report on what Staples is doing to build on the company’s green reputation.

In addition to a lot of other steps they’re taking to reduce waste and use energy more efficiently, the company has invested in 53 all-electric delivery trucks.

While the upfront cost for an electric truck is about three times more than a conventional diesel truck, an MIT study of the company's delivery fleet has found that the electric vehicles are 9 to 12 percent less expensive to operate, according to the article.

A company executive says that they pay for themselves within four years. In addition, the trucks are a huge hit with customers: so many people ask the drivers questions about the trucks that Staples printed up information sheets that can be handed out at intersections.

The drivers appreciate that the e-trucks' big battery packs can open the rear overhead doors for them, saving both time and labor. And they like the quiet. "They never want to go back to driving diesel," the executive is quoted in the article. "At 55 miles an hour, you can hold a conversation in the cab like you're sitting in your living room."

We wish more companies would listen.