FedEx expands EV fleet by 1K vehicles
Rising fuel costs and more stringent emissions regulations have pushed logistics companies to seek out ecofriendly alternatives, such as hydrogen- or battery-powered vehicles. Last spring, FedEx purchased 20 Tesla semi electric trucks, at a substantial cost of around $150,000 to $180,000 per truck. The large purchase was justified by the belief that investment in electric vehicles (EVs) will pay off in the long-term, due to enhanced technology and greatly minimized energy costs.
This week, it was announced that FedEx will be expanding its electric fleet by a further 1,000 vehicles; 100 of which will be directly purchased from Chanje Energy and the other 900 will be leased from the company’s partner, Ryder System. The EVs have a maximum capacity of 6,000 pounds, can travel up to 150 miles on a full battery, and could save FedEx 2,000 gallons of fuel, while avoiding 20 tons of emissions per vehicle annually. In addition to lower energy costs, the EVs offer reduced maintenance costs as they have fewer moving parts than fuel-powered vehicles and, therefore, a lower rate of failure.
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Maryland drone organ delivery proves successful
You may have heard about flying burgers, but what about flying kidneys? Surgeon Joseph Scalea is one of many who believe that drones could provide a quick and effective solution to last-mile delivery problems.
Frustrated with the inflexibility of air delivery systems, Scalea and a team of researchers from the University of Maryland decided to test whether a drone would be capable of delivering an organ quickly, safely and in an appropriate condition for medical use. Together, they modified a DJIM600 drone to hold a refrigerated box payload and designed a biosensor to monitor the organ while it’s up in the air. The organ assigned for the experiment was a kidney that was healthy enough for testing but not for a transplant. Once it arrived in Baltimore, the drone carried the kidney through 14 separate flight missions, the longest of which being 3 miles. The drone reached a top speed of 67.6 km/h, and despite the potential threat of wind chill and heat from the motors, the box remained at a temperature of 2.5 degrees Celsius. The kidney arrived undamaged.
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China tightens regulation of “daigou” trade, boosting ecommerce sales
For a long time, Chinese consumers have relied on compatriots living or travelling abroad to buy foreign goods for them, ranging from powdered baby milk to designer handbags. Reasons for this include a lack of availability in the domestic market, high tariffs on imported goods and the perception that foreign goods are safer. This “daigou” (aka. “buy on behalf”) trade often goes undeclared to avoid taxes, however, it is estimated to be worth tens of billions of dollars per year.
The Chinese government recently passed a new law, which will require all daigou who advertise online to register with the government and consequently pay full import taxes. Customs checks at airports have also become tighter and more frequent in recent months, and several merchants have already been sentenced to up to 10 years in jail for tax evasion. This acts as a deterrent for daigou traders and, as a result, customers are increasingly turning to cross-border ecommerce sites, which sell imported goods at lower tax rates than conventional imports. This has drawn more foreign retailers, such as Walmart (US) and J Sainsbury (UK), to online platforms in China. According to consultancy iResearch, the ecommerce sector will generate $23 billion in sales by the end of this year, which it predicts will more than double by 2021.
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