Transport and supply chain management provider, Ryder System, has been chosen as the exclusive sales channel partner and service provider for Chanje, a California-based medium-duty electric vehicle company.

Chanje will introduce its first vehicle – the V8070 large panel van – in the last quarter of this year and will be the first company in North America with the ability to deliver large-scale fleets of electric commercial vehicles immediately, according to Ryder.

Ryder will lease and rent out the vehicles it purchases from Chanje and take care of their servicing. It will also act as a sales channel partner for Chanje, providing information to potential customers about the benefits and advantages of all-electric drive while Chanje conducts the actual sales.

“We believe electric vehicles will play a major role in the future of commercial transportation and we are proud to partner with Chanje to bring an all-electric medium-duty vehicle to market,” said Dennis Cooke, president, global fleet management solutions at Ryder.

Over time, Chanje will introduce a full range of electric vehicles including trucks, vans and shuttle buses in a variety of lengths and capacities.

“We have an opportunity to meaningfully overhaul the last-mile industry and completely revolutionise how that facet of transportation impacts the environment,” said Bryan Hansel, CEO of Chanje.

“Medium-duty electric trucks offer the biggest emissions-saving potential of all vehicles because our products fit best where they are needed the most – in highly populated, dense urban centres where noise and air quality are a major concern.”

Chanje is a privately-held US company with technology and investment from its co-founding partner, Hong Kong-based FDG Electric Vehicles.

FDG is a vertically integrated battery and electric vehicle manufacturer listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. To date, it has invested nearly $1 billion in developing the V8070.

Chanje is currently in the process of selecting a site for an assembly facility in the US, which it says will be somewhere near port facilities west of the Mississippi. It is targeting initial US production from 2018. Until then, vans will be imported from FDG’s plant in Hangzhou, China.

Ryder has already ordered an unspecified number of Chanje vehicles, the first of which will be distributed to its locations in the US and will be available for ChoiceLease customers. An allocation of the new vehicles will also be added to Ryder’s commercial rental fleet.

According to Chanje, the V8070 commercial panel van can carry payload of 6,000lbs (2.72 tonnes).

“The average urban delivery route in the US is 70 miles a day, making last-mile delivery a perfect market for electric mobility,” it stated.

Ryder said it would be working with Chanje to develop charging infrastructure for the vehicles, with a focus on using renewable energy.