Photos: Orange EV
The Dimension Fabricators Class 8 pure-electric yard truck manufactured by Orange EV.

Dimension Fabricators deploys Orange EV yard truck powered by solar

March 26, 2018
The electric truck was purchased using funds through the New York Truck Voucher Incentive Program.

Dimension Fabricators has deployed a custom Orange EV T-Series pure-electric terminal truck at Dimension’s manufacturing facility in the Schenectady, NY, area, both companies announced last week. The Orange EV electric yard truck joins Dimension’s fleet of specialty tractors and trailers, all designed for 100-foot loads of concrete-reinforcing steel products. 

Powered by solar energy generated onsite, Orange EV says the new 100% electric truck further reduces Dimension’s carbon footprint, increases energy efficiency, decreases operational costs, and helps customers achieve supply-chain sustainability goals. The emission-free Orange EV truck can be used indoors, and the clean, quiet, vibration-free operation improves employee health and safety, according to the company.

“In order to deliver the highest quality product, we continually adopt new technologies and develop innovative processes to meet customer needs in the most efficient and sustainable ways,” said Scott Stevens, Dimension’s president.

Dimension unveiled its 942-kW solar array in August 2017 and five months later deployed its first pure-electric terminal truck, now effectively free to fuel with energy generated by Dimension’s rooftop solar panels. “We believe investments in clean technology are not only the right thing to do for the environment, but also give us, and by extension our customers, a competitive advantage,” Scott added.

The electric truck was purchased using funds through the New York Truck Voucher Incentive Program which supports Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s clean energy goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) administers the program.

“Dimension Fabricators continues to show leadership by demonstrating how manufacturing companies can incorporate clean energy technologies into their businesses to reduce operating costs and create a healthier environment for employees," said Alicia Barton, president and CEO of NYSERDA. "Its sustainability goals are a prime example of how local businesses are supporting Governor Cuomo’s nation-leading clean energy goals and our fight against climate change.”

Thanks to the Truck Voucher Incentive Program, Dimension deployed the Orange EV truck for about the price of a diesel, according to both companies. By eliminating diesel fuel, exhaust fluid, and other diesel-related expenses, they expect significantly reduced lifetime operating costs. Dimension anticipates fuel and preventative maintenance savings of at least $10,000-$15,000 annually on 2,000-2,500 hours of truck operation.

“Going electric means we’re also free from headaches that come with diesel emission control technology,” Scott said. “For emissions control systems to work, diesel exhaust has to get and stay hot, which doesn’t happen with low-speed, start-stop usage like ours. As a result, systems clog up and trucks don’t work properly.”

In contrast, Orange EV electric trucks don’t need emission controls and are simpler and more energy efficient than their diesel counterparts. “To meet emissions standards, diesels have become increasingly complex, problematic, and costly,” said Mike Saxton, Orange EV’s chief commercial officer. “Orange EV’s powertrain has far fewer parts than diesels and is largely maintenance-free. This means less wear and tear, reducing maintenance, repair, and downtime. And the powertrain is just one of many improvements fleets prefer over diesel.”

Since Dimension’s trucks must operate inside the plant alongside active manufacturing processes, vibration, noise, and exhaust from diesels are a nuisance and potential safety hazard. “Our drivers routinely back 60-foot trailers into the plant, and the diesel trucks vibrate and rattle, shaking mirrors wildly and moving them out of alignment. It’s aggravating and unsafe,” said Greg Stevens, Dimension’s operations manager. “The Orange EV truck is a drastic improvement – it’s smooth and quiet, we no longer have to shout to communicate, and no fumes exhaust into the building.”

Driver satisfaction is increasingly important in an industry facing driver shortages. Dimension has very low turnover and strives to further increase retention, in part by enhancing driver comfort. “Happy and safe operators stick with you for the long term, and the guys just love the new Orange EV truck,” said Greg. “They can’t stop raving about it, especially the interior creature comforts given recent weather. It’s been extremely cold with highs in the single digits. The way the operators are in and out of the truck making short moves, they really appreciate heat that actually works.”

New York Truck Voucher Incentive Program money is still available, according to Orange, but under the current program, trucks must be delivered and funds redeemed by June 30, 2018.

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