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MEC launches project “Electrifying Terminal Trucks to Optimize Freight Yards” utilizing Orange EV trucks

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Metropolitan Energy Center (MEC) recently launched the project “Electrifying Terminal Trucks to Optimize Freight Yards”. This project is the result of partnerships from Kansas City to Chicago, with the goal of demonstrating the feasibility of battery-powered terminal trucks. MEC is a nonprofit organization with a 37-year history of transforming energy use in the building and transportation sectors in the Kansas City region and beyond.  

Through the project, all-electric terminal trucks will be deployed in the Kansas City and Chicago metropolitan areas. Additionally, an all-electric demo truck will be available for use at interested fleet sites across the U.S. at no cost except a shipping fee of $500. Ultimately, MEC will create a deployment guide based on the real-world experiences of project subrecipients so fleets across the country can access reliable data in support of cleaner, more efficient freight handling. 

The vehicles funded under this grant are designed and built by Orange EV. Based in Riverside, MO, Orange EV was the first American company to commercially build, deploy and service 100% electric Class-8 electric vehicles. Missouri University S&T will analyze the telematics data, supported by fleet interviews and operational evaluation, from project subrecipients. 

Project Subrecipients: 

  • Firefly Transportation Services provides clients a one-stop-shop for yard services solutions – utilizing 100% electric vehicles – delivering sustainability, safety, service, and continuous improvement. Through the project, they will deploy two trucks at a manufacturing facility and distribution center in the Chicago metro area. 
  • Hirschbach Motor Lines, a private long-haul carrier specializing in refrigerated and other specialty cargoes, will deploy their truck at a client site in Wyandotte County, KS. 
  • Johnson County will deploy their truck at the Tomahawk Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility in Leawood, KS. The facility is currently under construction in a multi-year expansion project. 

To learn more about the project or request a presentation, contact Emily Wolfe at MEC.  

Benefits of Electric Terminal Trucks 

Terminal trucks are designed to pull cargo shipping containers and semi-trailers in freight operations. With the power terminal trucks demand, most run on diesel which comes at a cost: huge amounts of diesel exhaust, one of the worst pollutants and a major source of poor air quality. Low-speed, high-power operations in terminal truck settings also emit far more soot and carbon particulates than diesel trucks running at highway speeds.  

Diesel exhaust not only threatens communities surrounding industrial zones, typically low-income neighborhoods, but is a health risk for workers on site. The impact on driver satisfaction and the savings from eliminating diesel fuel and maintenance costs make all-electric terminal trucks an attractive business proposition. At the same time, systematically replacing diesel terminal trucks with electric models could boost air quality in and around America’s busiest freight hubs.  

This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under the Award Number DE-EE0008887. 

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