EV Fleets

4 of the Top Fastest-Growing Private and Municipal Fleets

June 14, 2024

Fleet electrification, the transition of fleet vehicles from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to zero-emission electric vehicles, is growing fast worldwide and in the US.

Fleets consist of a wide variety of vehicles, large and small. In 2022, Domino’s Pizza announced it would operate the nation’s largest electric pizza delivery fleet, using the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt. In 2023, Schneider National, Inc., a leading transportation and logistics provider, announced that its battery electric vehicle (BEV) semi-truck fleet successfully delivered over one million zero-emission miles of customer freight.

1. Beaverton School District (BSD)

The Beaverton School District (BSD) Leads School Bus Electrification in Oregon

The Beaverton School District is leading the movement to switch to electric school buses in Oregon. BSD is Oregon’s third-largest school district, including 39,000 students. BSD has the state’s largest electric school bus fleet, with 28 electric buses. These zero-emissions buses account for almost 70% of the 42 electric school buses currently used for Oregon public schools. In 2021, BSD was the first school district in Oregon to purchase an electric school bus.

BSD’s electric bus funding came from various sources. Beaverton voters approved a $723-million bond in 2022, part of which the District used to replace diesel-powered buses with clean-burning propane and electric buses.

BSD utilized the Oregon Department of Energy’s Public Purpose Charge Program for its electric bus fleet. It is funded through two of Oregon’s largest electric utilities, Portland General Electric and Pacific Power. The program supports acquiring zero-emission vehicles and charging stations, energy and fleet audits, and energy efficiency improvements.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Clean Fuels Program was also part of BSD’s electric bus funding.

BSD Awarded $20M EPA Grant For Electric School Buses

At the end of January, BSD announced it received a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) worth $20M for electric school buses, funding replacing 50 of the district’s 225 internal combustion engine (ICE) buses with new zero-emission electric school buses. The new fleet of electric buses is expected to be delivered by the end of 2025.

“We are thrilled and deeply grateful for the opportunity to partner with the EPA to spearhead this transformation from diesel-powered to electric school buses in the Pacific Northwest,” Craig Beaver, BSD’s transportation administrator, said in a statement. “It is an honor to be entrusted with an award of this magnitude, and we look forward to working with the EPA, Portland General Electric, and our school bus providers to deploy these 50 buses in the service of our students, especially those in historically underserved areas, as well as the broader community who stand to benefit from the reductions in emission and noise pollution.”

EPA’s Clean School Bus Program

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funded the EPA Clean School Bus Program, providing $5 billion over five years for school bus fleet electrification. More than 25 million children travel over four billion miles yearly in school buses. The goal of EPA’s Clean School Bus Program is to replace a substantial portion of the nation’s fleet of nearly 500,000 ICE school buses with electric ones. By doing this, cleaner air is achieved in the bus loading areas. Converting from polluting diesel-powered buses to zero-emission, clean energy, all-electric buses aids in the global fight against climate change.

2. Bimbo Bakeries USA

Bimbo Bakeries USA Orders Electric Trucks From Harbinger

In May, Grupo Bimbo, the world’s largest baking company, placed a significant order with Harbinger Motors for electric platforms for its fleet. The order was part of a book of 4,000 binding pre-orders worth $400M.

Harbinger is a Southern California-based electric truck manufacturer and a fairly new startup founded in 2021. The company’s first-of-its-kind vertically integrated EV platform is upfitted with a truck body by third parties, outfitting the platform with commercial or specialty bodies. Step vans are a popular use for the Harbinger platform and are frequently used in last-mile delivery.

Harbinger’s platform is also known as an electric vehicle stripped chassis. Harbinger’s EV platform introduces improvements in safety, driver experience, and vehicle operation. It is designed to fit the needs of commercial fleet operators and other medium-duty vehicle customers. The battery pack is scalable in 35kWh increments, allowing flexibility in the truck’s capabilities. It offers up to 140kWh between frame rails. The platform’s eAxle combines the inverter, motor, and gearbox into an integrated unit. It has been designed and built to support all the popular medium-duty body types available today.

Grupo Bimbo, S.A.B. de C.V., produces iconic brands, including Sara Lee Bread, Thomas’, Entenmann’s, and more. It is a Mexico-based multinational food company with a presence in over 33 countries across the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Bimbo Bakeries USA, the company’s American subsidiary, placed the order with Harbinger to make deliveries and fulfill other transportation needs in the US.

John Harris, CEO at Harbinger, said, “Bimbo Bakeries USA is the rare example of a customer that has the technical depth to provide specific, actionable input on our product development and also has a strong enough commitment to decarbonization to move rapidly into large EV deployments.  At Harbinger, we’re fortunate to have the support of partners like Bimbo Bakeries USA to help drive electrification forward, especially to help us ensure our innovative electric vehicles can address the broad variety of use cases beyond parcel delivery.”

3. Sysco

Sysco Adds Ten New Electric Semis in June 2024

In June 2024, Sysco added ten new Freightliner eCascadia electric semi trucks to its Houston, Texas, truck fleet. Recently, Sysco announced a plan to deploy roughly 800 battery-electric Class 8 tractor-trailer trucks by 2026. The company signed a memorandum of intent with Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) to make the impressive all-electric addition to its fleet.

Marie Robinson, Chief Supply Chain Officer at Sysco Corp., said, “Our actual stated public goal is to electrify 35% of our US broad-line fleet. So [the real number is] more like 2,500 electric trucks by 2030.”

Dan Purefoy, Sysco’s Chief Supply Chain Officer, said: “The scale of our EV deployment today is the result of years of planning and tremendous levels of cross-industry collaboration.”

In 2023, Sysco unveiled a first-of-its-kind Electric Vehicle Hub in Riverside, California. Also, in 2023, the company deployed 23 electric vehicles globally and added five electric refrigerated trailers.

Sysco’s electric vehicle fleet currently has 120 electric trucks. At the unveiling of the Tesla Semi in 2017, Sysco announced it had reserved 50 of the innovative trucks. Media reports suggest the company has had at least one Tesla Semi delivered so far.

Sysco Has a Deep Commitment to Sustainability

Sysco has broad and ambitious sustainability goals. At the end of fiscal year 2023, the company had contributed over $280 million to its Global Good Goal.

Sysco markets, sells, and distributes food and non-food products to restaurants, lodging establishments, healthcare, educational facilities, and other customers worldwide.

4. Penske

Penske Truck Leasing Has Led Fleet Electrification for a Decade

For the past decade, the Penske Truck Leasing fleet has led the way for fleet electrification. It now includes a wide variety of electric trucks in all classes:

  • Class 2 Ford E-Transit vans
  • Class 5 and 6 Freightliner Custom Chassis MT50e and XOS walk-in chassis trucks
  • Class 6 and 7 International eMV trucks and Freightliner eM2 trucks
  • Class 8 Freightliner eCascadia semi trucks, Orange EV e-Triever electric terminal trucks, and Volvo VNR Electric semi trucks

The company announced in May that REE Automotive P7-C electric trucks and platforms would join its fleet.

Penske Truck Leasing recognizes the need for extensive charging infrastructure for an electric fleet to be successful.

Paul Rosa, Senior Vice President of procurement and fleet planning at Penske Truck Leasing, said: “Much like a train, the EV transition rides on a track with two rails. One rail represents vehicles, and the other is the infrastructure required to operate and support them. There is no way to navigate the transition to EVs without making progress on both.”

Penske Energy LLC Formed in May 2024 to Advise and Support Commercial Fleets on EV Infrastructure

ForeFront Power and Penske Transportation Solutions formed the Penske Energy joint venture in May.

It will leverage ForeFront Power’s valuable experience as an asset manager of zero-emission energy infrastructure and a long history as a developer. Penske’s 55 years of experience providing commercial transportation solutions will bring valuable fleet electrification knowledge to the partnership.

Penske Energy will help streamline EV initiatives for its customers, simplifying the complex fleet electrification process. The company will guide fleet operators in assessing electric vehicle and route feasibility, tracking the latest EV policy and incentive opportunities, and designing and sourcing proven EV charging infrastructure.

Penske Transportation Solutions is the universal brand for Penske Truck Leasing, EPES Transport Systems, Penske Logistics, Penske Vehicle Services, Penske Energy LLC, and other related businesses.

ForeFront Power develops commercial and industrial-scale (C&I) solar energy and battery storage projects. Over 15 years, it has developed more than 1.1 gigawatt-DC of renewable electricity projects. The company also offers vehicle fleet electrification services.

About the Author: Bill Pierce, Publisher, is a thought-leading EV industry publication that delivers information and news about electric vehicles (EVs). We strongly recommend that you attend the EVCS & Expo, North America’s leading EV charging event.

Featured image: Peter J Dunn – on behalf of the University of Warwick, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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