Executives with less-than-truckload carrier A. Duie Pyle Inc. said the company is on the verge of operating two battery-electric Fuso eCanter Class 4 trucks in New York City as it steps up its involvement with electrified commercial vehicles.
“We have them in-house, and we are getting them ready to be deployed, probably next week,” Chief Operating Officer John Luciani told Transport Topics on May 6. “We have a number of green initiatives going on in the company. Customers are pushing us to reduce our carbon footprint. I feel like we are ahead of the curve. I am not aware of any other LTL carriers running these electric trucks in a dedicated P&D operation,” Luciani said.
“We have been investigating all along with the various manufacturers, looking at cost, value, infrastructure requirement including the electricity into our service centers, generator support. We have been following this initiative for at least the last two years,” he added.
The carrier buys Freightliner medium- and heavy-duty trucks. Like Freightliner, eCanter is a Daimler brand.
The two battery-electric trucks will haul general commodities — including, possibly, some for residential deliveries — and each vehicle is expected to accumulate about 15,000 miles a year traveling across the city’s five boroughs, according to the West Chester, Pa., company. The body height is a little lower than a standard specification to accommodate the deliveries.
A. Duie Pyle straight trucks. (A. Duie Pyle Inc.)
The Fuso trucks were not available for purchase, which is Pyle’s preferred approach to adding equipment, Luciani said.
“We had to lease the trucks. They are on a 24-month term. We have to give the trucks back to the manufacturer for testing purposes,” he said.
It was the first time the carrier had leased equipment, Luciani added. “This was the only way to be engaged, so we accepted to see how the trucks hold up in an urban environment.”
A benefit of leasing is that it positions Pyle at the head of the customer line for the next generation of the Fuso truck, said Daniel Carrano, the carrier’s vice president of fleet maintenance.
Another benefit is that the full-service lease means the carrier does not have to go through the “trials and tribulations” of resolving maintenance issues. “Essentially, it just goes back to the dealer,” he said.
After making deliveries on New York City’s crowded streets, the eCanters will be “sitting idle all night and will be slow-charged with 230-volt charging stations rather than something faster that would require some infrastructure enhancements,” Carrano said.
Meanwhile, the carrier will train a few drivers to operate the trucks.
“They know what to look for. They know how to deal with the truck. They know what the specific nuances related to the range are,” Luciani said.
The Bronx service center where the two electric trucks will be based includes 10 hybrid-electric diesel Class 5 trucks added to the fleet earlier.
A. Duie Pyle Inc. ranks No. 79 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.