Think of all the delivery trucks that roam across cities every day. Whether it’s Amazon, moving furniture, even good old snail mail, most of it comes to our homes via dirty, inefficient, diesel- or gasoline-powered trucks that get barely a few miles to the gallon. Factor in both air and noise pollution from these vehicles and you have a major sustainability challenge that, as delivery services grow, is only getting worse.
Chanje, a Los Angeles-based electric truck startup, has a plan to change all of this quickly, which it presented to attendees at an unveiling event on Monday in the San Francisco Bay Area. Unlike many startups, which have big media events around untested, speculative ideas or fancy prototypes, Chanje showed up with a functioning version of its first model — the all-electric, 100-mile range, mid-size V8070 truck. It is the first electric vehicle in its class, something long-awaited in the industry.
“It’s been amazing to me how we have almost had no resistance,” said Chanje CEO Bryan Hansel told Sustainable Brands. “As soon as customers know it’s available, they ask 'how do I get them'. Because they have been waiting so long.”
Here’s the best part — the company is ready to begin getting this vehicle into customers hands, meaning they won't have to wait much longer.
“We did assume real uptake, and we have a four-million-square-foot facility operating, so we do have the capacity to do tens of thousands of units of production today,” Hansel said. “We’ve already started building our second factory ... We’re trying to stay ahead of the curve and be in a position to ultimately deliver hundreds of thousands of units over time because that is what the market is going to demand.”
Key to this potential growth is partnerships. While Chanje is a startup with limited name recognition, its first partner, Ryder, is a nearly 85-year-old logistics and transportation giant, with a wide and deep customer base, which is eager to clean up its fleet and provide greater sustainability options to its clients.
“We’re really excited about this partnership — the synergies between this new, innovative company together with Ryder, an established company that can bring safety and security to customers who want to try new things, but are maybe scared to try new things,” said Chris Nordh, director of Global Fuel Products at Ryder. “We see this partnership as a great way to accelerate electric adoption among customers.”
“You have to bring in new technologies in order to really make a significant impact,” Nordh said. “Partnering with Chanje gives us the opportunity to bring vehicles to our customers ahead of anybody else.”
So far, the response from customers has been strong, reflecting the growing trend away from diesel and gasoline power transportation within cities. While the United States has made strong progress on reducing carbon emissions in the energy sector, due to the shutdown of coal plants and the rapid growth in solar and wind energy, emissions from transportation have continued to grow. This is a challenge globally, as we are still overly reliant on petroleum-burning vehicles, particularly in the transportation of goods.
However, we’re seeing a trend towards addressing the transportation challenge. Just in the past few months, we’ve heard that Paris may ban all non-electric automobiles within city limits, while China and California are both considering bans on sales of fossil-fuel burning vehicles. The more solutions such as Chanje’s exist, the more likely that we can not only meet these goals — but scale up sustainable transport quickly and effectively. It's the kind of perfect storm we need to reduce transport emissions fast.
Chanje understands that it is providing more than an electric truck. That is why the company is looking at the entire system, to ensure that the impact of its vehicles is as large as it can be. That means ensuring that trucks are running on clean energy, and working with customers to increase renewable energy options around their facilities through innovations such as distributed generation or energy storage.
“The truck starts the conversation about how you can run your business cleaner, more different and more cost-effective,” Hansel said.
If all goes as planned, it may not be long before you see a Chanje truck making quieter, cleaner deliveries in your neighborhood — a welcome change that is long overdue.