Case #1820.0

Power Partnership: The Creation of a Hybrid Electric Delivery Truck Eaton, FedEx, and Environmental Defense

Publication Date: November 18, 2005
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In 2003, industrial manufacturer Eaton, the NGO Environmental Defense, and shipping giant Federal Express formed a partnership to develop a hybrid electric delivery truck. While Environmental Defense had experience setting up successful partnerships with corporations, this was the first time that a product with a significant high tech component would be launched in the commercial marketplace. Eaton fulfilled its goal of delivering a working prototype on time and FedEx began a small pilot program with the hybrid truck in 2004. Media coverage of the new truck was positive and the project won the Roy Family Award for Environmental Excellence at the Kennedy School of Government in May 2005. However, the path to full-scale commercialization of the vehicle was both costly and complex.

Learning Objective:
The case allows for discussion of questions including: How had the subject of climate change impacted the decision making of the partners since the first hybrid electric trucks were produced by Eaton for FedEx? How could Eaton make the manufacturing and commercial leap from a partner producing prototypes of the low-emissions delivery truck to scale production and financial success?

Other Details

Case Author:
Barbara J. Mack
Faculty Lead:
Alan Trager
Pages (incl. exhibits):
United States