US fleet management company Merchants Fleet has entered into a strategic partnership with the electric utility vehicle manufacturer Xos to expand its range of electric vehicles. The collaboration will begin in 2022 with the delivery of an initial ten electric vehicles.
Merchants Fleet had made headlines in February with an order for 12,600 EV600 electric delivery trucks from General Motors’ BrightDrop brand. In November, the company followed up with an order for 5,400 of the smaller BrightDrop EV410 offshoot. In total, the US fleet management company now says it plans to procure more than 40,000 electric vehicles. The list of vehicle manufacturers contracted to manufacture vehicles for the fleet management giant will now inlclude Xos. In view of the orders of magnitude mentioned, Xos is not likely to stop at the delivery of ten units, but there are no announcements at this point about potential follow-up orders.
Xos, active as Thor Trucks until 2019, is a Californian manufacturer of electric utility vehicles that had presented the prototype of an electric truck at the end of 2017 and was commissioned by UPS to develop an electric delivery truck in August 2018. In August this year, FedEx ordered 120 electric trucks from Xos. These are to be deployed in California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Texas and delivered in the fourth quarter of 2021 and 2022. For its order, Merchants Fleet has ordered the Xos electric delivery truck called the Stepvan.
According to the Xos homepage, the company’s ‘X-Platform 1′ enables modularly adapted vehicles – for example, in terms of wheelbase and battery. Two battery packs of 30 kWh each are integrated into the ladder frame between the axles, which should provide a range of 100 miles or about 160 kilometres. Optionally, two more battery packs can be mounted on the outside of the ladder frame, doubling capacity to 120 kWh and a range of up to 200 miles (320 kilometres).
Merchants Fleet simply says that the delivery van is suitable for a variety of medium-duty bodies, making it an ideal solution for Merchants’ extensive portfolio of last-mile delivery customers across North America. The company describes itself as the “fastest growing fleet management company in the country” with a wide range of financing and service options for customers who want to use, but not buy, vehicles. The company aims to have half of its fleet in North America electrified by 2025, and Merchants Fleet is aiming for the same goal for its customers’ fleets by 2030.
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