In another indication of the viability of and interest in commercial electric vehicles, Ryder System, Inc. has reserved 500 more Chanje battery electric panel vans. That's in addition to Ryder's order of an initial 125 of the EV maker's vans late last year, and the reservation will be for Chanje's new V8100 model.
Technology advances are still helping address electric powertrains in heavy duty and long-haul trucks in terms of weight, range and other parameters. But for certain operations like urban/ metro area delivery and other limited-range fleets, electric trucks—though they may come at a higher cost initially—are already well-suited to the job and can offer a number of advantages over diesel vehicles.
That includes no emissions; quiet operation; lower per-mile fuel costs over time; and lower cost, simpler maintenance with fewer parts in the drivetrain. For electric panel vans often used for deliveries and similar shorter-range hauling, batteries and motors tend to be placed low in the vehicle frame, making for a lower center of gravity and more stable handling.
Such is the case with Chanje's vans, which started off with the V8070 that Fleet Owner got a chance to test drive last year in Brooklyn, NY. The company claims as an advantage that its vans were designed from the start to be electric, rather than being adapted from diesel or other engine types to use electric powertrains.
The company has updated its Class 5 van offering to a new model, the V8100, and the V8070 can no longer be ordered. The new V8100 boasts several improvements over its predecessor, but still has the same rear-drive configuration with dual electric drive motors at the rear axle.
It's still the same dimensions and is mostly identical to the V8070, but has a larger-capacity 100 kWh battery bank beneath the cargo floor. That's part of the name designation: "V" refers to it being a van, "8" is its 8-meter length (about 26.5 ft.), and "100" refers to the battery capacity, which is increased from the V8070's 70 kWh batteries.
The new V8100 can be Level 2 charged overnight like the V8070 could, but now also can be DC fast-charged to 80% "in about an hour," according to Chanje. The V8100 also gets a higher-capacity 13.3 kW charger with Level 2 and DC Fast Charge ports.
With the upgraded batteries, the company claims a longer range of 150 miles with a 2,000-lb. payload for the V8100. The V8100 has the same 198 hp. rating but a 563 lbs.-ft. of torque rating that's down a single click from the V8070's 564—perhaps just rounded off or slightly recalculated—and the newer model also has a top speed of 81 mph, up 1 mph from the V8070's specs.
Though it has the same dimensions as the earlier model, Chanje also has upped the V8100's max cargo space rating considerably to 675 cu. ft., while the V8070 was rated more conservatively at 580 cu. ft. The V8100 continues with the same max payload rating of 6,000 lbs. and the ability to climb up to a 30% grade, as well as the same 26.6-ft. turning radius that gave the V8070 and now the new model notably tight maneuverability.
Finding their calling
Ryder's additional reserve order for the V8100 vans reflects the industry's call for the vehicle type—and where that call is coming from.
"Ryder continues to see broadening interest in EVs from businesses of various sizes and industries, and especially from those companies in the parcel, final mile, or beverage delivery space," said Dennis Cooke, president of global fleet management solutions at Ryder. "Additionally, there's interest from customers who have daily return-to-base routes of 40 to 100 miles and in markets with incentives available for electric vehicles."
Cooke added that trucking companies "continue to identify the potential long-term cost, environmental, and efficiency benefits of EVs" and that Ryder expects "additional business announcements based on our sales pipeline."
Ryder noted it works closely with EV manufacturers and technology suppliers to provide feedback on functionality, usability and adaptability. The company is the exclusive sales channel and service partner for Chanje and its Class 5 medium-duty electric panel vans, and is offering leasing and preventive maintenance packages for them.
Ryder's reserve order for 500 additional Chanje V8070 vans "will be executed as lease agreements for the Chanje electric vehicles are finalized," according to the companies.