Ryder, UPS add more electric vehicles to fleets

  (Photo: Ryder)

(Photo: Ryder)

As alternative energy continues to make headlines, companies are adding more electric vehicles their fleets. Both Ryder and UPS announced significant EV additions earlier this month.

Ryder reserved 500 new Chanje Energy medium-duty electric panel vans with the intention of growing its North American electric commercial truck rental fleet. These vehicles will join the existing 125 Chanje EVs in Ryder’s fleet.

This month’s larger reservation came on the heels of increased demand for EVs and positive feedback from the company’s existing EV customers, according to Ryder Fleet Management Solutions Chief Technology Officer Mel Kirk.

“Our early experience with [EVs] from Chanje has helped us frame the appropriate application for this vehicle type,” Kirk said. “We have gained valuable feedback from customers who have driven the unit and experienced the quality of the vehicle to evaluate its fit for their business. We continue to see broadening interest in EVs, especially in the parcel, final mile and beverage delivery space, which led us to execute this reservation agreement.”

The Chanje vans can haul up to 6,000 pounds and up to 580 cubic feet of cargo with zero vehicle exhaust emissions and a 100-mile range per charge, according to a Ryder media release.

The increased fuel efficiency of EVs is a big draw for many Ryder customers.

“Our customers look to Ryder to help them configure and order vehicles that fit their specific duty cycle and use case. One of the predominant factors that drives a customer’s vehicle selection is fuel efficiency,” Kirk said. “EVs, with their increasing battery density and performance, can be considered in any evaluation for customers who drive defined routes between 40 and 100 miles per day and return to base in the evening potentially for charging.”

Ryder’s new round of EVs will be deployed as lease agreements with the company’s customers are finalized.

The company has equipped maintenance facilities across the major California markets, Chicago and New York to meet the service and charging requirements of these vehicles, according to the release.

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Ryder is not the only company expanding its EV profile. Workhorse recently announced a binding agreement with UPS to buy 950 additional N-GEN plug-in electric delivery vehicles.

The Ohio-based transportation technology company worked with UPS to build the vehicles from the ground up. A 50 vehicle test fleet deployed earlier this year.

The company’s ability to use the vehicles for deliveries during the day and recharge overnight without losing any working time puts them in the position to “work with partners, communities and customers to transform freight transportation,” according to UPS Global Fleet Maintenance and Engineering President Carlton Rose in a media release.

“Electric vehicle technology is rapidly improving with battery, charging and smart grid advances that allow us to specify our delivery vehicles to eliminate emissions, noise and dependence on diesel and gasoline,” Rose said in the release. “UPS Global Fleet Maintenance and Engineering President Carlton Rose said in a media release. “With our scale and real-world duty cycles, these new electric trucks will be a quantum leap forward for the purpose-built UPS delivery fleet.”

Workhorse claims the N-GEN plug-in EVs provide nearly 400 percent fuel efficiency improvement, in addition to optimum energy efficiency, vehicle performance and a better driver experience.

Like the Chanje vans, the Workhorse delivery vehicles can go about 100 miles per charge and boast zero vehicle exhaust emissions.

The Workhorse vehicles are comparable in acquisition cost to conventional-fueled vehicles without any subsidies, according to the company.

"This innovation is the result of Workhorse working closely with UPS over the last four years refining our electric vehicles with hard fought lessons from millions of road miles and thousands of packages delivered,” Workhorse CEO Steve Burns said in a media release. “Our goal is to make it easy for UPS and others to go electric by removing prior roadblocks to large scale acceptance such as cost.”

UPS has been on the forefront of the electric vehicle scene for awhile, with 300 electric vehicles deployed in Europe and the U.S. and nearly 700 hybrid electric vehicles in play, according to the release.

The company has also preordered 125 electric Semi trucks from Tesla and was the first commercial customer to begin using Daimler’s eCanter electric light-duty truck last year.