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October 18, 2019 3:45 PM, EDT

Dependable Supply Chain Services Adds Two Orange EV Tractors to Increase Sustainability

Orange EV yard truck Mike Saxton demonstrates an Orange EV yard truck. (Mindy Long)

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ONTARIO, Calif. — Dependable Supply Chain Services has deployed two electric terminal trucks from Orange EV at its facility here. The trucks replace two diesel yard trucks and bring the terminal, which is used by the company’s less-than-truckload division Dependable Highway Express, closer to its goal of creating a sustainable, zero-emission facility.

Joe Finney, chief operating officer for Dependable Supply Chain Services, unveiled the equipment and charging cabinets they use. In addition to the new tractors, Dependable Highway Express is investing in electric forklifts, solar panels and over-the-road electric tractors.

Joe Finney

Joe Finney discusses Dependable Highway Express’ plan to create a zero-emission terminal in Ontario, Calif. (Mindy Long) 

Volvo has announced that it would partner with Dependable Highway Express to introduce all-electric Class 8 tractors in California as part of a partnership that includes Volvo Group, California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District and industry leaders in transportation and electrical charging infrastructure.

Finney said the company has explored several diesel alternatives, including compressed natural gas and hydrogen. “The only thing that makes viable sense is electric,” he said, adding that drivers simply plug in when they get out of the truck. “We can keep business running as we would.” 

Over the course of 15 years, the two new yard trucks can eliminate 50 tons of nitrous oxide, 46 tons of carbon monoxide and 5,000 tons of carbon dioxide when compared to their diesel counterparts, Finney said.

Mike Saxton, chief commercial officer for Orange EV, which is based in Kansas City, Mo., said the electric terminal trucks have no engine, no transmission, no radiator, no liquid cooling, no motor oil, no fuel tanks, no exhaust system and no emission after-treatment control systems. “The headaches the fleets have to manage around are gone,” he said, adding that operationally the trucks are cooler, quieter and smoother than diesel equivalents and provide regenerative braking that does most of the braking of the vehicle.

The electric trucks should reduce maintenance costs, said Ron Massman, co-founder of Dependable Supply Chain Services, which is based in Los Angeles and ranks No. 92 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.

Saxton explained that maintenance savings vary based on usage, but some fleets report seeing up to a 75% reduction in maintenance and repair expenses.

Dave Marler, regional director of operations for Dependable Highway Express, said he has not had to stock any additional parts to maintain the vehicles and added that the pre-trip inspection process will be simpler with electric trucks. “The only fluid they have to check is hydraulic fluid,” he said, adding that there isn’t a great deal of training that is required to get drivers or mechanics up to speed on the new tractors.

Dependable Highway Express purchased one standard-duty yard truck, which has an 80-kilowatt-hour battery pack, as well as an extended-duty yard truck that has a 160-kilowatt-hour battery pack. “Now we can experience both firsthand and get data and knowledge to help determine what we will need at our other terminals,” said Troy Musgrave, director of process improvement for Dependable Supply Chain Services.

Two 22-kilowatt charging cabinets provide power to the trucks, and Saxton said the terminal did not require electrical upgrades for the cabinets. Dependable Highway Express will encourage drivers to use opportunity charging, plugging in when taking a break or eating lunch, Musgrave said. The trucks will also receive a full charge over the weekend when they will be plugged in from Friday evening to late Sunday, he said.

Terminal managers can collect data off of the trucks through telematics to view operational and charging data to manage any anomalies. “You can go to the users not following the processes,” Musgrave said.

Dependable Highway Express received incentives for the trucks from the California Air Resources Board’s Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project. HVIP funds enable Orange EV to provide discounts of up to $165,000 per T-Series electric terminal truck, Saxton said.

Sydney Vergis, assistant division chief at CARB, said the program is funded through the California Climate Investment program, which is designed to help improve the environment and public health while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Vergis told Transport Topics that since 2009, 1,400 vehicles have received incentives through HVIP.

CARB is in the process of transitioning terminal trucks into its Clean Off-Road Equipment Voucher Incentive Project, Vergis said. In addition to providing funding for trucks, the vouchers could include funding for charging stations.

Saxton said Orange EV sold its first electric truck in 2015. “Every truck we’ve built since 2015 is still on the road under original ownership with the original battery pack,” he said. “It took a lot to get us to this day.”

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