Staples Hits on Key to Making Electric Trucks Successful Within the Fleet

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Staples, a global retailer of office supplies and equipment, has found the perfect niche for using electric trucks within their fleet of almost 2,000 delivery vehicles. According to Staples director of fleet equipment Mike Payette, the trucks are ideal for short local delivery routes within cities where lots of stops are involved. With a battery life of about 75-100 miles and a battery recharge time of four hours, the best savings is seen in inner city routes such as Los Angeles, where drivers make 50-60 stops per day with a stop about every eight minutes. 

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Running the same route in a diesel truck would cost about $35 per truck per day. In an electric vehicle, the cost to charge one of the trucks for this route is just $9 per day. According to Payette, once you add in the lower costs of maintaining the trucks, the savings becomes even greater. The latest additions of electric vehicles to Staples’ fleet are 41 vehicles to be pressed into service in California, Ohio, and Missouri.

The initial cost of electric trucks is higher than for diesel trucks, according to Payette, so the truck has to earn back its price tag in order to make it a good ROI for the company. All of the electric trucks Staples operates come from Smith Newton. For delivery routes that are over 100 miles or require long stretches of driving at or above 55 mph, the savings disappear.

Another benefit is for the drivers. Since these trucks are quieter, smoother, easier to maneuver, and don’t smell bad, once drivers get a route in an electric truck they don’t ever want to go back to diesel. Some compare it to driving a big easy chair.

The electric trucks are just one part of Staples sustainability efforts, which includes offering a line of green office supplies and equipment, a company wide recycling policy, and other green efforts. [/show_to]

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