Sales of hybrid and electric cars have soared 37% during the start of the year, according to the latest figures, while North American companies are starting to commit to green fleets.
According to the latest figures from automotive experts Edmunds.com, sales of new hybrid and electric cars are now growing faster than conventional vehicles, reaching a total of over 78,500 in the first quarter of 2011.
Japanese carmaker Toyota leads the way, with sales of its flagship hybrid, the Prius, up 50% on last year, followed by Honda and Ford. But Honda showed the biggest growth, with sales of its Insight hybrid and new CR-Z up 80% on last year.
Bringing up the rear are European carmakers Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
The figures from the car market are bolstered by the fleet market, which is seeing new commitments to all-electric delivery vehicles.
Canada Post, for example, is adding four all-electric trucks from US manufacturer Navistar, which have a range of 160 km and can be recharged in 6-8 hours, to its fleet.
If the initial vehicles prove successful, it could signal good news for Navistar, as Canada Post has the largest delivery fleet in Canada with over 7300 vehicles. But the company is also testing out hybrid vehicles, as well as ethanol, biodiesel, natural gas, propane, hydrogen as alternative fuels.
In the US, five of the largest ten corporate fleet operators, AT&T, PepsiCo, United Parcel Service (UPS), FedEx and Verizon, have joined an initiative to encourage a move to greener fleets.
The National Clean Fleets Partnership, launched by the Obama Administration, will work with the Department of Energy to help companies improve fuel efficiency and move to alternative technologies.
UPS and FedEx have both introduced green vehicles into their fleets, and PepsiCo recently announced plans to add all-electric vehicles to its Frito-Lay fleet.
The five charter members of the Partnership, which collectively own and operate over 275,000 vehicles , plan to deploy over 20,000 advanced technology vehicles.
For further information:
Hertz to add Renault’s electric vehicles to rental fleet (3-Mar)
UK campaign aims to turn white vans green (15-Mar)
BT and Hertz add electric vehicles to fleets (23-Nov 2010)
US energy companies to switch to hybrid or all-electric fleet (29-Sept 2009)
07 April 2011