Getting customers charged up

In News3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineNovember 10, 2023

Keith Andrews Trucks ran a 100% EV truck evening at its Hamilton facility this week. Existing and prospective customers as well as interested parties were invited along for an update on the eCanter’s journey down under, along with testimonials from those embracing the next era in land-based transport, and useful take-home information from network providers and body builders. The underlying theme was the barriers are now gone, and getting on board sooner rather than later will pay dividends in terms of operator welfare, reduced R&M, and personal IP as the impetus ramps up.

Keith Andrews GM sales and customer experience Kathy Schuler, sales manager Alisha Francis, and Fuso New Zealand product planning manager Ian Porter were on hand to deal with questions from an ever more interested transport community.

Ian Porter (left), product planning manager Fuso New Zealand and Alisha Francis, sales manager Keith Andrews Trucks talk through the eCanter’s journey before taking questions from the audience.

As well as in-house information, there were testimonials. “Making sure everyone is part of the journey is essential; operations, drivers, and trainers, all learning together,” said Alex Thompson, general manager vehicle logistics at Carr and Haslam in Auckland.

Jason Howarth, national training and development manager at Carr and Haslam was made project manager for the eCanter in the business, and he reinforced Thompson’s comments saying they had also used the truck to blood new recruits into the road transport business via the Road to Success program. “We had far more curiosity within the business than push back.”

Howarth started operating the truck within a 20km radius of the firm’s Mt Wellington depot, stepping that out as charging capacity, and knowledge evolved. “With our 60kW charger we’re getting four or five cycles per day, and the eCanter is matching, if not better, than a 616 equivalent diesel model in terms of operational productivity. To date we’re coming up 40,000km of trouble free use.

“Everyone has now had a go in the eCanter and they all come back with the same feedback. It’s super quiet, tight and doesn’t rattle. There’s a lack of fatigue, they’re more relaxed.”

A clear learning carried into the event and conveyed with emphasis was the importance of partnerships; engaging experts to assist with things like depot charging strategies and infrastructure, as well as body building suited to the eCanter. To this end there was representation from WeEV, a subsidiary of Wel Energy Trust specialising in EV transition, as well as body builders Elite Truck Specialist, Ten4 Engineering, and Tru Group.

The mood at the event was certainly one of engagement over resistance.