Ryder System Inc. announced it has started to take delivery of 125 medium-duty all-electric panel vans to make available to customers in select locations.
The van, made by Chanje Energy, is equipped to haul up to 6,000 pounds and up to 580 cubic feet of cargo. The zero-emissions vehicles have a gross vehicle weight rating of 16,000 pounds, the demarcation straddling Classes 4 and 5.
Chanje is based in Los Angeles and is supported by manufacturing in China.
Under the arrangement, which includes rental and leasing options, Ryder will also be involved in selling new vehicles for the first time.
“We realize not everybody wants to lease or rent,” Chris Nordh, senior director, advanced vehicle technologies and energy products, Ryder System, told Transport Topics. “If we are going to be the exclusive sales channel of this brand new technology company, we need to be able to leverage all channels. This enters a new arena for Ryder which is really interesting and exciting.” Nordh expects demand for the vans to increase rapidly. Smaller van and box truck platforms are a starting point, but offerings are slated to go beyond that, Nordh said.
“We have another electric vehicle that we are offering at 23,000 GVWR [or Class 6] through a different manufacturer that we could potentially talk about at another time,” he said.
In addition, Ryder will be a distributor and maintenance provider for the two hydrogen-electric Class 8 models from Nikola Motor Co., scheduled for road tests in 2018 — along with Thompson Machinery, a Caterpillar dealer with operations east of the Mississippi River.
Selecting Chanje’s truck hinged on its design, Nordh said.
The Chanje vehicle is purpose-built as an electric truck from the ground up. It has a new chassis to carry the batteries, allowing a lower center of gravity and less parasitic losses compared with internal combustion engines. The two electric motors are in the rear axle. Plus, the Chinese manufacturing plant is state of the art, with the capacity to produce 100,000 vehicles a year, Nordh said. Chanje has said it intends to manufacture a range of electric vehicles.
“I really do have high hopes for the adoption of the product based on the events we have had unveiling the product in California and New York. The feedback we received was tremendous. I believe we will be making subsequent orders for the vehicles before the end of the year,” he said.
Ryder also plans to equip its maintenance facilities in the San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, and San Jose, Calif., markets, as well as in the Chicago and New York markets, with the latest technology in commercial electric vehicle charging.
The Chanje delivery-style vans will become available for customers in those markets by the end of 2017, according to the Miami-based company.
Ryder also is equipping those locations with charging stations from eMotorWerks, Chanje’s recently announced partner.
The charging stations connect with a customized cloud-based control platform to intelligently manage EV charging. The platform’s features include remote access control, automatic energy management to avoid peak pricing, smart algorithms to maximize charging with available renewable energy from the grid and electricity usage tracking.
The vehicle order follows the exclusive sales channel and electric vehicle service partnership that Ryder announced with Chanje Energy in August.
Ryder Supply Chain Solutions ranks No. 13 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.