Replacing diesel with electric increases competitive advantage

Innovative Transportation Services (ITS) with their new Orange EV T-Series pure-electric terminal truck. From left: James Hotnich, Dispatch Manager; Owen Owens, Driver; and Dave Harper, President of ITS.

Innovative Transportation Services (ITS) with their new Orange EV T-Series pure-electric terminal truck. From left: James Hotnich, Dispatch Manager; Owen Owens, Driver; and Dave Harper, President of ITS.

KANSAS CITY, MO and BUFFALO, NY, February 7, 2018 – Orange EV and Sonwil Distribution Center, Inc., today announced the 2017 deployment of Orange EV’s T-Series pure-electric terminal truck to Sonwil’s 300,000 square foot warehouse and distribution center in Buffalo, New York. Replacing diesel with an Orange EV electric yard truck further delivers on Sonwil’s commitment to their customers to provide solutions that increase efficiency, reduce costs, and help achieve sustainability goals.

“Sonwil’s philosophy is simple,” said Dave Harper, President of Innovative Transportation Services (ITS), Sonwil’s transportation arm. “We put the customer first, continually working to add value, meet the customer’s evolving needs, and strengthen their competitive advantage.” For example, to increase efficiency and sustainability, ITS has worked with key industry partners to design custom trailers, both dry and refrigerated, to haul increased loads. The specialized dry trailers carry over 55% more per load resulting in fewer trips, significantly lower costs, and smaller carbon footprint.

“We like to operate on the leading-edge with clean technologies,” continued Harper. “Sonwil was one of the first thousand orders for Class 8 12-liter CNG tractors, and now we’re moving into Class 8 electric. The Orange EV truck is a good fit with our mission, eliminating emissions and solving problems. And compared to the steep learning curve with CNG, the electric yard horse was easy – just plug it in.”

Orange EV’s complete electric terminal truck solution includes everything needed to begin operations: trucks, charging capabilities, telematics, on-site training, manuals, customized operator settings, warranty, and more. Building both new and remanufactured vehicles, Orange EV designs and manufactures each truck to customer specifications. Sonwil is operating a new T-Series Extended Duty Terminal Truck with Standard Onboard Charging.

Diesel yard trucks are costly to operate due to fuel expense, maintenance, and emission control requirements; they also pose risks to employee health and safety. Fumes, heat, and dust are a few of Sonwil’s biggest challenges with diesel. Owen Owens, lead ITS driver, commented, “The Orange EV has been great. We still have a diesel yard horse here but I prefer the electric, and so do other drivers. It’s a lot quieter and you don’t have exhaust gas emissions. Summer will be great since we won’t be sitting on top of the engine cooking. Plus, we operate on a dirt lot and the diesel kicks up the dust and sucks it into the cab. With the electric, there’s no dust.” The Orange EV truck also performed well in the cold, working through a bitter January with back-to-back days of below-zero temperatures and wind chill of 30+ below.

Orange EV’s electric terminal trucks (aka yard trucks, horses, spotters, hostlers, etc.) operate in all segments of the container-handling market including ports, rail intermodal, manufacturing, distribution, parcel, waste transfer, LTL freight, third party logistics, and more. Understanding that each yard is physically and operationally unique, Orange EV delivers site-specific electric vehicle solutions backed by committed engineering and technical support.

In early operations with their electric terminal truck, Sonwil faced a unique challenge with the truck/trailer connection. Said Harper, “From the beginning, Orange EV treated the issue with urgency. They were in constant communication, and working together we found a solution.” He concluded, “The Orange EV electric has reduced maintenance, keeps drivers happy, and we expect to see reduced costs. To other fleets considering electric, I’d say don’t be afraid to dive in – you will be rewarded.”


About Sonwil

A family-owned and operated logistics solutions firm, Sonwil Distribution Center, Inc. has been serving regional, national, and international clients for more than 70 years. Sonwil is headquartered in Buffalo NY, with additional locations in Carlstadt NJ, Reno NV, and Arlington TX. Sonwil’s scalable logistics solutions help clients optimize revenue growth and reduce operating expenses related to inventory management and distribution. Innovative Transportation Services, Sonwil’s transportation arm, provides innovative ideas and equipment for customers requiring unique solutions. To learn more, call 716-684-0555 or visit

About Orange EV

Kansas City based Orange EV is the leading OEM providing industrial fleets with heavy duty electric solutions that do the same work while eliminating diesel fuel and emissions. Building both new and re-powered vehicles, Orange EV was the first and is still the only manufacturer offering 100% electric Class 8 vehicles that have been commercially deployed and re-ordered into container handling operations. 75% of Orange EV customers have purchased additional trucks within six months of their first delivery. Contact Orange EV at 866-688-5223,, or by visiting the company’s website at