A plug-in hybrid delivery van sure seems like a good idea for commercial fleet customers looking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and better manage volatile gasoline prices, right? Some companies, FedEx and Frito-Lay, are already buying green vehicles, and there are many other companies making a lot of short hauls in crowded urban areas where people would notice a reduction in diesel fumes. So why is this nut so difficult to crack?
The idea of an American-made extended-range plug-in utility van may have faded – for now, with the failure of Bright Automotive – but there remain some companies kicking around that exact idea across the pond.
Emerald Automotive LLC announced their intent last week to build hybrid vans at a plant in Hazelwood, Missouri near St. Louis. As part of plans for a "$175 million factory," the company would receive a $3 million loan from the city and a $2 million loan from a state agency. On the scale of things, that's a pretty small investment to bring a potential 580 jobs to an area which has lost much of its manufacturing base.