Chinese Startup Says It Will Bring First Medium-Duty EVs To US

A Chinese startup wants to bring what it says will be the first mass-scale electric medium-duty vehicles to the U.S. market.

Chanje, a California-based startup company, will be delivering its first all-electric commercial vans to fleets in the U.S. Without providing sales figures, the company says that volume orders for the EV have been placed with delivery starting later this year.

Co-owned by Hong Kong-based FDG Electric Vehicles Limited, the new company will tap into FDG’s electric vehicle and lithium ion battery manufacturing resources.

Chanje says it will eventually offer a “microgrid depot solution” built on four components — renewable energy, charging infrastructure, energy storage, and grid services.

On the transportation side, large fleet operators will be offered renewable energy and charging capabilities as a “turnkey service.”

There will be a lot more EV offerings than just the electric work vans.

Affordability and durability of the first EV model is being emphasized. It will be sold to fleets for “at a previously unavailable scale and price.”

The large electric van will be “purpose-built to be a long-life truck.”

The company is visiting potential sites for its assembly facility, bringing clean transportation jobs to a U.S. location. It will be set up near port facilities west of the Mississippi River, the company said.

Fleets using these vehicles will be able to save up to 70 percent on maintenance costs due to the truck’s design being based on what’s described as “global quality and durability standards.”

The company predicts that the electric van will receive a rating greater than 50 MPGe in city and highway driving when tested by independent third parties.

“Medium duty electric trucks offer the biggest emissions saving potential of all vehicles because our products fit best where they are needed the most – in highly populated, dense urban centers where noise and air quality are a major concern,” CEO Bryan Hansel said.

The electric commercial panel van will be able to haul up to 6,000 pounds. It’s been designed to cover the typical urban delivery routes, covering about 70 miles per day.

The strategy is take the van’s single platform over to other EVs serving fleets. That will include larger trucks and shuttle buses with varying lengths and capacities. It’s all being designed for the urban vehicle environment, Chanje said.

The U.S. management team is made up of experienced executives from automakers and utilities. President Ian Gardener came form the Boston Consulting Group, Duke Energy, and Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator. General counsel James Chen worked for Tesla and the Environmental Protection Agency. Jeff Robertson, VP of manufacturing, came from Tesla, Ford, Mazda, and General Motors.

There is a real market for electric trucks, the chief executive said.

“The future of transportation is zero-emission, we expect commercial electric vehicles to become the norm soon,” Hansel said.

“There is a tremendous opportunity for Chanje because no one else in the marketplace can meet a fleet customer’s demand for delivery of large numbers of high quality, commercial electric vehicles,” he said.

SEE ALSO: Chinese Investors Bet on Electric Vehicles Over the Long Term

The company said it will soon announce a major U.S. service, parts and distribution partnership.

FDG, the partner company, is known for backing other electric mobility startups. Commercial EV maker Smith Electric Vehicles had gone through a financial meltdown and stopped operations a few years ago.

FDG invested $20 million to revive Smith Electric Vehicles, and later another $15 million to a joint venture with Smith called Prevok. That JV is working on a medium-duty electric van that was slated to be built in Hangzhou, China.


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