Tesla co-founder Ian Wright and his turbine-hybrid drivetrain company Wrightspeed have signed a deal to provide FedEx with its advanced powertrains. The San Francisco Gate reports that after testing two of the powertrains, the delivery company decided to order 25 more.
Though details of the deal aren’t being discussed, Wrightspeed did say that each of the powertrains cost less than $100,000, and FedEx should expect to recoup those costs in three to four years. The turbine-hybrid system can operate on gasoline, CNG, or diesel, and the lithium-ion battery pack gives a claimed driving range of 30 to 40 miles per charge, depending on how it’s driven. For local deliveries in urban environments, this is emissions-free, low-cost driving for the business owner, which in this case is FedEx.
The delivery giant has worked to improve its fleet wide fuel economy by 27% since 2005, using over 360 hybrids, 117 electric vehicles, as well as a mixture of hydrogen, propane, and natural gas trucks. FedEx is trying a little bit of everything to improve its fuel economy, and Wrightspeed has apparently made a good case for the cost savings of its unique drivetrain. Oh, and it’s pretty good at drifting too.
Imagine one of these drifting down my street, delivery guy tossing packages out both sides of the truck as the turbine whines and the tires squeal. That’s the kind of service I’d pay extra for.