Logistics delivery company among Canada’s first to use all-electric trucks
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Aug 15, 2019
Catherine Kargas and Pierre Ducharme

Ovation Logistics, a leader in last mile home deliveries across Canada, introduces electric trucks to its fleet in innovative partnership with one of its retail clients

Ovation Logistics, a leader in last-mile home deliveries, is introducing electric trucks to its fleet in an innovative retail client partnership

IKEA, Amazon, UPS, Fedex, DHL… these are but a few of the big-name companies involved in goods delivery that have made commitments to using electric trucks for bringing their products to customers. They are part of a growing number of businesses that are looking to decrease the carbon emissions of their shipping supply chains by changing practices, vehicles and technologies.

But here at home, Montreal-based Ovation Logistics is making the shift now. This month, the largest urban logistics company providing heavy goods home delivery in Canada will also become one of the country’s first delivery companies using all-electric trucks for one of its customers.

Logical next step

For Ovation, which had already committed to zero landfill on packaging, to the recycling of used electronics and appliances, as well as to route optimization to minimize GHG emissions, it is the logical next step.

The company is making this move in partnership with Brault & Martineau, the leading furniture, appliance, electronics and mattress retailer in Quebec. The shift to zero-emission deliveries begins with three electric trucks that will be dedicated to the greater Montreal area.

Batteries will be charged nightly at Ovation’s depot, leaving the chargers free for employees to charge their private EVs during the day

Brault & Martineau is a fitting partner. The company has long been at the forefront of pro-environment trends with several programs aimed at the reduction of landfill from packaging and recycling appliances and electronics.

Single daily charge

Ovation will be using class 5 trucks supplied by Nordresa, a Canadian manufacturer of converted electric vehicles. These are equipped with 160 kWh batteries that will enable them to cover their entire daily assignment on a single charge.

Batteries will be charged nightly at Ovation’s depot in Montreal East using level 2 chargers installed on site. These chargers will be made available to employees wishing to charge their private EVs during the day.

These trucks will have first priority in terms of assigning deliveries. They will be on the road seven days a week so their payback is guaranteed

The trucks are expected to cover as many as 75,000 kilometres per year which will displace as much as 22,500 litres of gasoline annually. These savings, coupled with considerable savings in maintenance, will compensate for the vehicles’ higher cost. Since these trucks will have first priority in terms of assigning deliveries, they are guaranteed to be on the road seven days a week and their payback is therefore guaranteed.

Savings and incentives

Ovation Logistics electric truck for Brault and Martineau

In Quebec, the shift to electric trucks is expedited by substantial provincial government incentives for the purchase (or lease) of both trucks and charging stations. Because the government grant is paid upfront, the operation of these electric trucks will be cashflow positive from Day 1. Consequently, despite a higher purchase price, the operational savings and government support result in making battery-electric trucks a no-brainer. This is also the case in British Columbia where the government offers generous incentives.

If Ovation’s first vehicles meet expectations, it plans to look at electrifying more of its fleet. Likewise, as more retailers adopt a low- or no-carbon emission policy for supply chain logistics, we can expect to see more battery electric trucks on Canadian roads.

Catherine Kargas and Pierre Ducharme

Catherine Kargas and Pierre Ducharme are principals at MARCON, a management consulting boutique specialized in alternate fuel transportation. MARCON performed the feasibility study for this project and is managing its implementation on behalf of Ovation.

Editor’s note: The story and headline were revised Sept. 11, 2019, to reflect the fact that at least one other Canadian company — Geazone Eco-Courier — began using electric vehicles for deliveries prior to Ovation.

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