The partnership with BrightDrop, an 18-month-old General Motors subsidiary, advances FedEx toward its goal of making 100 percent of its pickup and delivery fleet vehicle purchases electric by 2030.
"You start off with a lot of science projects," said Russ Musgrove, managing director of global vehicles for FedEx Express, which has a total of 2,500 BrightDrop trucks on order. That FedEx unit has been working on EV projects for a more than a decade.
FedEx Express has a global fleet of about 87,000 vehicles. It did not say how many pickup and delivery trucks it buys each year. It suffered a setback last year with the failure of startup Chanje, which was to provide FedEx with 1,000 electric delivery trucks.
BrightDrop brought its ZEVO 600 step trucks to market in just 20 months - the fastest ever for a GM vehicle, BrightDrop executives told Reuters.
And now, FedEx is "moving from small demonstration projects ... to scaling," Musgrove said.
Local and national regulators are pressuring transportation companies to slash tailpipe pollution such as CO2.
The U.S. transportation sector accounts for more than one-third of U.S. green-house gas emissions. Heavy- and medium-duty trucks that do everything from hauling freight to delivering e-commerce purchases account for less than 5 percent of the vehicles on the road but produce over 20 percent of sector emissions, according to the Department of Energy (DOE).
FedEx, United Parcel Service, Amazon.com Inc and Walmart Inc are among the companies leading the charge toward EV fleets as battery technology has evolved to meet the needs of their routes, ranging from 10 to 50 miles per day.