Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC) and Enova, a developer of proprietary hybrid-electric and all-electric drive systems and drive system components, have launched a program they say will “make electric vehicles more accessible to fleets.”

The “Green for Free” program enables fleets to purchase all-electric trucks for the cost of a diesel-powered commercial vehicle. The companies said the savings fleets will incur from the reduced maintenance and fuel savings of the electric vehicles is then used “over a period of time to cover the incremental expense for the technology.”

The Green for Free program centers on FCCC's all-electric walk-in van chassis powered by an Enova drive system. The companies noted that fleets in P&D applications are ideal candidates because they have predictable drive routes and return each night to a company depot. The program also targets “disciplined” duty cycles, defined as those using 80% of the battery's capacity daily.

According to FCCC, customers can fund the vehicles several different ways: either through outright purchase, leasing the vehicle, or just leasing the batteries.

“FCCC and Enova recognize that the Green For Free program is necessary to make all-electric vehicles more affordable and more accessible to fleets,” said Bob Harbin, FCCC president. “We want to help those fleets interested in reducing their energy consumption and environmental impact by enabling them to purchase more alternative-fuel vehicles at one time.”

While the commercial vehicle market has relied on government funding for alternative-fuel vehicles with some success, the partners noted that this is the first program that will eliminate the overall incremental costs associated with buying and operating an all-electric vehicle.

As a result of the Green for Free program, FCCC and Enova plan to deploy a total of 3,000 alternative-fuel vehicles within a two-year time frame beginning no later than the third quarter of this year.