Heard the buzz? Kittle’s uses EV for Indianapolis deliveries

INDIANAPOLIS — When the time came to redo leases on trucks for its delivery fleet, Kittle’s Furniture here was presented an interesting option.

Palmer Leasing, the group that provides the Indianapolis-based retailer with its trucks, had come into possession of an electric truck and thought six-store Kittle’s would be a great first user.

“They asked if we would be interested in getting that truck instead of a diesel unit. The way the world’s going, we thought it would be a good idea to try it out and see how it goes,” Tyler Baker, director of operations for the retailer, told Furniture Today. “It’s a little more expensive, but they worked with us and made us a good deal, so we decided to try it.”

The truck was incorporated into the fleet in November and has been on the road consistently for six months. Baker said there were some learning moments when it was rolled out, including managing its charge, but since then it’s been a fixture, particularly for local deliveries.

“It has performed great. We keep it local; it’s got a 200-mile range on it,” Baker said. “Most of our customers are within 10 miles of our distribution center, so we drive it 75 to 100 miles a day and when we get back, there are roughly 100 miles on it. If we were go to some of our remote areas, it would be tough, but luckily most of our customers are close to us. That’s another reason we were able to do it.”

So how was the new truck received by the delivery teams that get to drive it?

“They love it. It was a little weird at first because it was so quiet, kind of like a golf cart. Once they got used to it, they love it. It gets up and goes pretty quickly,” Baker said.

Customers are also wowed when the EV makes a stop. “The customers love it. We have a big wrap on it that says it’s an electric truck,” Baker said.

Baker said the cost savings of not having to refuel the truck with diesel essentially offsets the additional cost of the lease. He said as these vehicles become more accepted and available, those costs should come down, and Kittle’s would be open to additional opportunities, particularly for its local stops.

“We’ll definitely consider it. Right now, with the mileages, we wouldn’t be able to have a whole fleet, but it’s something we would look at more than we have in the past,” he said. “Especially a few years from now, Palmer expects the prices to come down. As prices come down and lease rates come down, it’s definitely something we’ll look into in the future.”

See also:

  • Kittles names Lisa Hudak president
  • Why green goes great with everything for John V Schultz and Levin

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