Leasing giant Ryder System Inc. said it has reserved 500 medium-duty electric panel vans from California startup Chanje Energy, underscoring the growing demand for zero-emissions delivery trucks.
The order is a huge boost for Chanje and follows a Ryder order for 125 vans placed last year. The leasing and fleet services company is Chanje’s exclusive external sales and service provider.
Reserving the vans means Ryder is anticipating customer demand. It isn’t an indication of how many firm orders the company already has.
Still, “this is significant and it really shows that Ryder has built a sales team that is building a pipeline for us,” Brian Hansel, Chanje’s chief executive officer, told Trucks.com.
Chanje announced its relationship with Ryder and delivered its first vehicle less than a year ago.
“Ryder continues to see broadening interest in EVs from businesses of various sizes,” said Dennis Cooke, president of Ryder’s global fleet management services unit. The company expects additional orders for Chanje vans to meet current and anticipated future demand from its commercial rental and leasing clients.
Demand for EVs is strong in the parcel, beverage and last-mile delivery segments.
Customers who typically drive less than 100 miles a day are looking to electric trucks to cut fuel and service costs and meet toughening air quality rules, Cooke said.
Chanje’s trucks are the first electrics to join Ryder’s fleet of more than 230,000 vehicles. The company also is acquiring a number of electric step vans from Ohio-based Workhorse Group and has ordered 2,500 of Workhorse’s W-15 electric pickup trucks. They are scheduled to go into production later this year.
There are “more than 20 manufacturers offering more than 50 electric models” of Class 4-8 commercial trucks in the U.S. alone, according to a recent report from ACT Research. Regional air-quality regulations are a principal reason for the scope and variety, the report says.
The medium-duty Chanje electric van is a purpose-built, extended-length model made in China with a three-ton cargo capacity and a range of up to 100 miles per charge. Chanje is based in Los Angeles and has a manufacturing partnership with its majority owner, Hong Kong-based FDG Group.
Ryder maintenance facilities in Chicago, New York and throughout California’s major metro areas are equipped to handle the service and charging needs of commercial electric vehicle clients.
The company’s decision to reserve 500 Chanje electric trucks “is further evidence that this medium-duty delivery space is exactly the right niche where electrification makes the most sense,” said Antti Lindstrom, trucking industry analyst with IHS Markit.
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