Miami-based freight transportation and logistics services provider Ryder System Inc. said this week it will make a significant expansion of its sustainable fleet, coupled with its plans to meet rising demand for commercial electric vehicles (EV) throughout the freight transportation and logistics sectors.
The company will introduce 4,000 BrightDrop Zevo 600 and Zevo 400 electric vans to its lease and rental fleet through 2025, adding that the first 200, for Ryder's rental fleet, will be ordered in 2023. And it added that the Zevo 600 and Zevo 400 electric vans have a 250-mile range on a full charge, while supporting a payload of roughly 2,000-to-3,400 pounds. The Zevo 600 has a cargo capacity of more than 600 cubic feet and the Zevo 400 has a cargo capacity of more than 400 cubic feet, according to Ryder, adding that the BrightDrop electric vans provide the benefits of an electric powertrain, coupled with ample cargo space.
“We aim to make fleet electrification as seamless as possible by investing in alternative vehicle solutions to offer sustainable and economic advantages for our customers,” says Tom Havens, president of fleet management solutions for Ryder, in a statement. “Ryder continues to be at the forefront of identifying advanced and emerging vehicle technology by serving as an extended research and development arm for its customers.”
Ryder said it will deploy model year 2023 Zevo 600 electric vans in its rental fleet across California, Dallas Fort-Worth, and New York City this year, with the new 2024 Zevo 600 and Zevo 400 models, for lease and rental customers, expected to be made available between this summer and the first quarter of 2024.
Carlo Rodriguez, group director for advanced vehicle technology for Ryder, told LM that the electrification of commercial vehicles is accelerating, with about 75% of the 200 largest U.S. fleet operators having publicly committed to decarbonization targets, which is the equivalent of about 140 fleets or 1.2 million vehicles.
“Our internal research on our targeted commercial fleets shows that about 50% of fleet owners plan to have their first EV by 2023,” said Rodriguez. “And, about 65% (or two-thirds) of our targeted commercial fleets plan to outsource due to the complexity and the items you need to start/operate. Ordering a significant batch of eVans for our rental fleet allows Ryder customers to rent units short term and allows them to get more touches, and in different markets. And these rentals are available to customers of all kind (prospects, existing local and national accounts), and the majority of the existing rental customers are long term lease customers as well. This all comes together and helps customers with their EV adoption, decarb commitments, and compliance requirements.”
When asked what the main benefits of these new vans are for Ryder customers, the Ryder executive cited the following:
- the BrightDrop Zevos are purpose-built from the ground up based on a ton or research and experience from the BrightDrop and GM teams that were focused on operators and their needs to have the most efficient, safe, and secure eVans on the road;
- they are excellent for delivery of goods and services;
- the eVans can come with various specifications, including a GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) under 10,000 pounds, which provides operators and companies with a lot of flexibility. The lower GVWR option also minimizes the need for additional licensing and qualifies more drivers for companies;
- the different models also benefit customers and fleets by providing options, as the ZEVO 400 model can fit in a public parking space;
- regenerative braking system allows for recovery of energy during deceleration, which extends vehicle range and the life of the brake pads;
- segment leading safety features; and
- with uptime being critical for commercial fleets, it is an important customer benefit that Ryder has the ability to provide preventive and full-service maintenance for the BrightDrop Zevo’s at one of Ryder’s nearly 800 maintenance facilities. This allows fleets to keep moving for their clients and promises
As for next steps, Rodriguez said Ryder continues to work with key OEMs on monitoring medium and heavy-duty EV opportunities for our customers.
“Much of the foundational work on eVans will transition and apply to other vehicle classes as well,” he said. “Be sure to follow along with Ryder as we have more developments around EV solutions to share during ACT Expo in Anaheim, CA the week of May 1.”