Start-up To Bring Chinese EV Van to U.S. Market
Last week, a new startup called Chanje (pronounced “change”) jumped into the electric vehicle (EV) market, but not with a vehicle you might expect. In its inaugural press release, Chanje unveiled its first vehicle: a commercial, all-electric van called V8070 (their creative team might need a little help).
The V8070 is nominally a Class 5 medium-duty panel van with about 580 cu.ft. of cargo space. Range is estimated at 65 miles with a full 6,000-lb payload and 100 miles with a 3,000-lb payload. The van uses dual rear-mounted electric motors with batteries mounted on the floor of the vehicle.
Chanje claims that, “The average urban delivery route in the U.S. is 70 miles a day, making last-mile delivery a perfect market for electric mobility.” This target market is a large niche (500,000 sales annually) that has not been successfully explored by any other major auto makers. In the past decades other startups (some of which are where Chanje executives had their first taste of the business) have made a run at producing electric trucks for this market, but none have survived. Currently, two major competitors are sniffing in this arena—Daimler subsidiary Mitsubhishi Fuso started production of an all-electric Class 4 truck, the eCanter, in Europe with plans to introduce it in the U.S. next month. In addition, Chinese automaker BYD has established a manufacturing facility in California and is offering an all-electric Class 5 truck (chassis only) for sale.
Chanje V8070 Specs & Background
The V8070 is estimated to achieve a 50 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent rating); according to Chanje, it could save customers an average of 70 percent in fuel costs by going full electric, although it will have a higher initial cost for the vehicle. the company focuses on the benefits of its vehicles rather than its specifications. It has said the van has a 7.2 kW on-board charger and uses a J1772 standard charger, the same one used on light-duty vehicles. It will carry a 70 kWh battery powering dual rear electric motors. The motors have a combined 198 horsepower, but more important, deliver 564 pounds-feet of torque. The van’s top speed is 80 mph, but it can take on a 30 percent grade. It rides on 215/75R17.5 tires and features an independent front suspension and leaf spring rear. A key delivery number is its 26.6-foot turning radius.
Backed by Hong Kong’s FDG Electric Vehicles, Chanje has already received a $1 billion investment from FDG to bring the V8070 to mass production by the end of the year. While its current manufacturing facility is in Hangzhou, China, Chanje is looking to open a facility somewhere in the western United States.
The commercial fleet management company, Ryder, has already partnered with Chanje and has placed an initial order for the V8070. The first portion of Chanje vehicles will be sent to Ryder locations around the country; available for ChoiceLease customers. A second portion of the vehicles will be added to Ryder’s commercial rental fleet; available to customers for short-term rentals.
While big time delivery services like United Postal Service and Federal Express are the ultimate target for Chanje vans, those larger companies will likely wait and see how the V8070 fares in smaller markets before putting their own money down. In the interim, Chanje executives have said they will target smaller fleets, which the affiliation with Ryder could help.
While the V8070 is currently only available in one size, Chanje plans to offer a diverse range of EV vans in multiple configurations and sizes. Pricing for the V8070 is a bit vague and has not been officially announced yet.
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