GOOD FOR BUSINESS, GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

 

The question facing many truck operators today is not if they should go electric, but when. Advances in electrical transportation technology are picking up pace, and the capabilities of electric trucks like the International® eMV™ Series are quickly surpassing many owners’ expectations.

Jack Scarsi, VP, Operations of Finance of US Air Conditioning Distributors, recently partnered with Westrux International, his dealer of 25 years, to begin the company’s transition to electric.

Jack Scarsi / VP, Operations of Finance / US Air Conditioning Distributors

Quiet, Comfortable Electric Trucks Impress Drivers

US Air Conditioning Distributors (USAC) is a privately-owned HVAC distributor that operates 50 locations across five states, providing equipment, parts and supplies to customers and contractors. For businesses like USAC, it is crucial that their deliveries of equipment and parts arrive at the jobsite when they’re needed. That dependability is something they’ve become known for.

“Electric vehicles give us the same reliability we’ve had in the past with prior trucks,” says Scarsi. “But the electric vehicles are better than that because they actually have less maintenance and downtime.”

Jack and his team maintain a fleet of 35 trucks, most of which run on compressed natural gas. The recent addition of the two new International® eMV electric stake bed trucks has his drivers lining up to take the wheel. With 335 hp and battery capacity of 135 miles, the International® eMV™ Series is the perfect fit for USAC’s operations. Built on the same foundation as the popular diesel MV, the electric version offers DC Fast Charging, so it’s always ready to deliver. Capable of moving payloads up to 33,000lbs, the company has yet to test those limits.

“The drivers were quite impressed with the electric vehicles,” adds Scarsi. “From the minute they got in and saw the console, to the minute they backed up and took off down the street they loved them. The pickup is unlike anything they’ve ever driven before.”

The first thing Jack’s drivers noticed was how smooth and powerful the eMV Series felt. The quiet, comfortable cab was an unexpected, but welcome surprise. Quieter cabs are known to reduce fatigue, which makes for safer, healthier drivers.

A SEAMLESS SWITCH TO ELECTRIC

The process for going electric started with a conversation between Jack and his sales rep from Westrux, Anthony Garza. Anthony laid out a step-by-step plan and assembled a core team of trusted advisors from Navistar’s Zero Emissions Team.

“We’ve been partners with USAC for 25 years,” says Garza. “We know the reliability they expect. So when they came to us to look into buying electric vehicles, we knew that Navistar had a program in place to get them up and running. It was a seamless process.”

The Consulting Phase is the first step in the journey to electric. The trusted advisors got to know Jack’s business and operations inside and out. From evaluating his load requirements and uncovering efficiencies to running route simulations and scouring for available funding sources, grants, and tax incentives.

“We handled the application and the research and were able to get Jack and USAC the grant money they needed to make the transition to electric possible,” says Janice Thomas, Grant Support Manager for the Zero Emissions Team at Navistar. “When the grant was approved, we all celebrated. The feeling was, ‘Yes, we did it.’”

Navistar also worked closely with the national nonprofit CalStart to secure grants like the Hybrid Voucher Incentive Program (HVIP). CalStart is one of many outside partners the trusted advisors can pull in to help connect businesses with incentives and grants. While HVIP is only available to businesses in California, other states are now rolling out similar grants and tax breaks. The trusted advisors can also help locate funding for sustainable transportation wherever companies operate.

“It’s very important with electric vehicles that you have an infrastructure plan,” says Thomas. “And we were able to help USAC find the right companies to partner with and a plan to get the process done as quickly as possible.”

A ROADMAP FOR SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORTATION

 

The Charging Phase is next, and it includes building out an appropriate charging solution for immediate needs and the future. The trusted advisors worked directly with utility companies and contractors throughout site planning and engineering, AC and DC charger installation, equipment certification and financing for both vehicles and infrastructure. So far, the electric trucks are delivering the same reliability they’ve had with prior vehicles. USAC plans to expand its electric fleet in the future, and their infrastructure is ready for current needs and built to grow with them. The Deployment Phase began when Scarsi received the keys to their new the International® eMV™ Series trucks. It ensures a smooth, easy transition to electric.

USAC’s drivers received training to help make them comfortable and confident when operating their new electric trucks. This includes safety training, maintenance and the use of digital remote diagnostic tools that can significantly boost uptime and lower costs. USAC is already seeing the benefits of the eMV Series electric trucks. The new vehicles have had a positive impact on their bottom line and their drivers. It’s all part of Navistar’s commitment to advancing sustainable electric transportation.

“Navistar’s vision is to expand the impact of sustainable mobility,” says Trish Reed, VP, Zero Emissions, Navistar. “That's exciting. We all have to have a north star. Working towards that drives me everyday to that passion to make sure customers have a successful experience.”

Businesses like US Air Conditioning Distributors are early examples of the benefits and possibilities of going electric, providing a helpful roadmap for other fleets interested in more sustainable transportation options.

“We had a vision for shifting to electric trucks as part of our overall sustainability strategy, and our partnership with Navistar helped make it happen,” says Scarsi. “They’ve been with us every step of the way.”

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