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Courtesy of FedEx


FedEx Canada Adds 50 Brightdrop Electric Delivery Vans, Merchants Fleet Orders 12,500 Electric RAM Vans

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FedEx Canada this week is touting the fact that it has added 50 Brightdrop Zevo 600 electric delivery vans to service the needs of customers in Toronto, Montreal, and Surrey. The fact that the Brightdrop vans are manufactured in Canada is a plus. FedEx has set a goal of transitioning to an all-electric fleet of delivery vehicles by 2040, with half of its vehicles to be electric by 2025.

These 50 new electric delivery vans are part of a larger agreement between FedEx and BrightDrop that will see FedEx incorporate 2,500 total vehicles across FedEx operations in the coming years, including more than 400 vehicles that are already in operation in Southern California. To support the new vehicle technology, FedEx is installing charging infrastructure across its Canadian facilities, including the 80 charging stations the company has already installed in these three EV launch markets.

“FedEx Express Canada is proud of the role we’re playing to help our company work toward the goal of carbon neutral operations globally by 2040,” said Dean Jamieson, vice president of operations at FedEx Express Canada. “Working with companies like BrightDrop that are helping to build these solutions, right here in our own backyard, shows how Canada is helping to bring more sustainable solutions to life across a variety of industries.”

BrightDrop is manufacturing the Zevo 600s at GM’s CAMI Assembly plant in Ontario. That factory has gotten a $1 billion makeover to convert it into Canada’s first large-scale EV factory. “FedEx is a key collaborator in our journey to help reduce carbon emissions for deliveries,” said Steve Hornyak, chief commercial officer at BrightDrop. “As our first customer to deploy Zevos in the U.S. and Canada, FedEx is showing the world how the addition of electric vehicles can help achieve ambitious sustainability goals and improve the communities where we live and work.”

Merchants Fleet Orders 12,500 RAM ProMaster Electric Vans

RAM electric delivery van

Courtesy of Stellantis

While those 50 Brightdrop vans in Canada are welcome news, the latest announcement from Merchants Fleet is more likely to warm the hearts of EV enthusiasts. Merchants Fleet is one of the largest fleet management companies in America. What is fleet management? Let’s say you are in business and will have 5 trucks in your fleet. First you need to go to a dealer and negotiate the purchase of those 5 vehicles. Then you have to have them painted in your corporate colors and get your logo and signage added. Next you work with an upfitter to get the shelves and storage racks you need installed. Now you need to hire a qualified mechanic or two to maintain your new vehicles.

Or you can call a company like Merchants Fleet and ask it to handle all those time consuming and expensive details while you concentrate on running your business. There must be a lot of demand for those services because Merchants Fleet is jumping into the electric delivery van space with both feet. It was one of the first customers for the Brightdrop electric vans when it placed an order for 12,600 of them.

That is what’s called “putting your money where your mouth is.” Merchants followed that up by ordering another 5,400 Btightdrop Zevo 410 midsize electric delivery vans, bringing the total to an eye opening 18,000 electric trucks. The orders clearly reflect that Merchants, which makes its living by controlling the cost of the vehicles it buys, believes electric delivery vans have a better rate of return on the capital needed to acquire them.

A lot of that has to do with much lower costs to maintain the vehicles. Diesel engines have been the mainstay of commercial vehicles for generations, but they are expensive to maintain, thanks to the thousands of oily bits whizzing around inside them, and that’s before taking into account all the moving parts in the transmissions that connect them to drive wheels.

The RAM ProMaster is a popular work vehicle for many businesses large and small. Later this year, a battery electric vehicle will start being delivered to customers. Merchants Fleet has stepped up and committed to purchasing 12,500 of them over the next few years. That will bring the total number of electric vans in its fleet to 30,500. In all, Merchants Fleet manages about 150,000 vehicles.

“At Ram, we are laser-focused on offering our customers electrified solutions with disruptive, leading-edge, advanced technology that meets real-world demands, and we are thrilled Merchants Fleet recognizes our all-new ProMaster EV will do exactly that,” said Mike Koval Jr., CEO of the RAM brand, which is part of the Stellantis Group. In a press release, he stated,  “Our all new ProMaster EV is RAM’s first EV offering in North America and an integral step in our electrification journey that will offer more efficient options to all of our customers.”

“We take great pride in our partnership with Stellantis, which plays a crucial role in our strategy to create an innovative EV ecosystem for our clients,” said Brad Burgess, senior VP of fleet sales and strategic solutions at Merchants Fleet. “This collaboration allows us to provide our clients with exclusive access to EVs and a level of flexibility they simply can’t get anywhere else.”

The Merchants Fleet agreement follows a previous announcement that Amazon will be the first commercial customer for the new RAM ProMaster EV. Stellantis will be putting thousands of the battery electric vans on the road every year for many years to come. RAM says it will have additional ProMaster EV commercial/fleet customer announcements in the coming months.

Today’s order from Merchants Fleet of the RAM ProMaster EV is a good illustration of Stellantis’ competitive commercial vehicle and service portfolio, which is built to exceed professional customer expectations. It is the first of 26 new electric commercial vehicle launches planned by the company between now and the end of the decade, which is part of its plan for 40% of its commercial vehicles to be battery powered by 2030.

The Takeaway

FedEx recently took delivery of 50 electric delivery vans and thinks that is something to celebrate. The reaction around the CleanTechnica spritzer bar is “Meh.” Merchants  Fleet has more than 30,000 of them on order. Our reaction to that is “Yowzah!”

What is unknown and unknowable is what to make of the deal between Amazon and RAM for thousands of electric delivery vans in the near term. What does that portend for Rivian, which at one time was supposed to be the principal supplier of such vehicles to Amazon? There will be winners and losers in the commercial electric vehicle space. Right now it is hard to know which category Rivian will be in.

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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."


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