Electrification of cars has gained immense traction over the last few years. A less mainstream, but powerful, use case has been the electrification of heavy-duty trucks and industrial transportation infrastructure. Class 8 commercial trucks (heavy-duty trucks with a gross weight rating of greater than 33,000 lbs) account for 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the US mobility sector. Electrifying this infrastructure will be a crucial step in the broader mainstreaming of clean energy in the mobility sector, which is why I am proud to announce our recent investment in Orange EV, the EV industry’s leading yard truck manufacturer with the largest fleet of heavy-duty, zero-emission trucks in operation in the US.
Head of the Class
Orange EV was founded in 2012 in Riverside, MO. The company first premiered its all-electric yard truck in 2015, making it the first manufacturer in the US to commercially deploy 100 percent electric Class 8 vehicles. Today, Orange EV continues to lead the industry with more than 450 heavy-duty electric yard trucks operating in 130 fleets across 27 states, Canada and the Caribbean.
Class 8 trucks have traditionally been powered by diesel engines. In addition to contributing to carbon dioxide emissions, diesel exhaust contains more than 40 toxic air contaminants, fine particulate matter (PM2.5), and ozone-forming compounds. Nitrous oxides (NOx), which are also emitted by heavy-duty vehicles with diesel engines, are immensely harmful to human health even at low concentrations and are associated with elevated levels of premature death as well as cardiovascular and lung disease, according to the EPA. Heavy-duty diesel vehicles alone account for 20 percent of all NOx and 25 percent of PM2.5 pollution emitted by vehicles in the US.
Many countries, including the US, have ambitious goals for reducing fossil fuel emissions to achieve increasingly aggressive net-zero targets. As a result, there are a growing number of regulatory pressures targeting high-emitting vehicle industries. In August, the Biden administration announced new proposed regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants from heavy-duty trucks that would impose strict emissions standards starting in 2027. Some states such as New York and California have even proposed more stringent regulations to further the adoption of zero-emission trucks.
Orange EV trucks prevent over 1,700 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per truck over its 15-year lifespan. A typical Orange truck can eliminate up to 1,200 tons of CO2 and 13 tons of NOx over a 10-year lifespan when compared to a traditional diesel yard truck.
Environmental and Economic Benefits
In addition to the clear environmental benefits, there are exceptionally attractive customer economics as well. Orange EV’s trucks are capable of close to 100 percent uptime, compared to around 80 percent uptime for diesel trucks, due to the quality of the trucks and Orange EV’s service model. This increased uptime efficiency, coupled with rising diesel fuel costs, means that Orange EV’s trucks can deliver over $500K in cost savings over a single vehicle lifetime. Many customers experience a three- to four-year payback on these assets. As a result, Orange EV has seen powerful traction with over 450 vehicles deployed since 2015 in 130 fleets across 28 states, Canada and the Caribbean with a growing fleet rental business to further support customer demand.
The company has just closed a $35 million institutional funding round led by S2G Ventures and CCI, an affiliate of Henry Crown and Company, which will allow Orange EV to scale its manufacturing to meet its strong backlog of commercial demand, deliver class-leading vehicles to new markets and develop technologies that will increase the company’s lead in the Class 8 commercial vehicle segment. We are excited to be working with a company that has been a pioneer in industrial fleet electrification and look forward to supporting Orange EV as they further expand their global reach and help advance the clean energy transition in the industrial trucking sector.