Duane Reade has partnered with Smith Electric Vehicles to add Newton zero-emission, all-electric commercial trucks to its delivery fleet.

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Duane Reade to use electric delivery trucks

September 19th, 2011

NEW YORK – Duane Reade has partnered with Smith Electric Vehicles to add Newton zero-emission, all-electric commercial trucks to its delivery fleet.

The metropolitan New York drug store chain, part of Walgreen Co., said Monday it will be the nation's first retail pharmacy to choose fleet electrification through a pilot program with Kansas City, Mo.-based Smith Electric Vehicles.

Duane Reade noted that the medium-duty trucks are well-suited for the heavy stop-and-go driving in urban deliveries. The vehicles have a range of over 100 miles on a single overnight charge, carry a payload of more than 16,000 pounds and have an average annual operating cost of one-third to one-half that of conventional diesel trucks.

And besides improving fuel efficiency, the Newton trucks produce zero emissions — lowering carbon dioxide emission into the atmosphere — and are virtually silent. They also feature a regenerative braking system that reduces wear on the brakes while restoring charge to the battery.

"In having a significant part of our retail foundation within the most dynamic urban center in the world, we want to do our part to conserve energy across all areas of operation by lowering our carbon footprint in addition to creatively integrating low-energy output solutions within Duane Reade stores," Paul Tiberio, senior vice president of merchandising chief marketing officer at Duane Reade, said in a statement. "We are excited to partner with Smith Electric Vehicles and are confident the investments we are making today are not only good for the environment, but they also work to increase our business efficiency."

Tiberio added that Milea Truck Group and Continental Truck Body played a key role in bringing Smith Electric Vehicles to Duane Reade and in building the truck body in New York City.

"We welcome Duane Reade as the first retail pharmacy in the United States that has chosen fleet electrification as a viable economic option that also advances its sustainability goals," stated Bryan Hansel, chief executive officer of Smith Electric Vehicles. "Duane Reade is joining a growing family of Smith vehicles in New York City that includes Frito-Lay, Coca-Cola and Down East Seafood. We're pleased to join Duane Reade in improving its bottom line while making the Big Apple cleaner and quieter."

According to Duane Reade, the electric truck program is part of the retailer's energy initiative, in which all new and remodeled stores have low-heat LED lighting, resulting in 40% less power consumption annually, as well as Polyflor flooring, which is produced by using 30% less water than most other commercial surfaces, requires little maintenance and cleaning, and has an average life span of 20 to 25 years.

Meanwhile, Duane Reade parent Walgreens has been a key retail player in supporting electric vehicle use by consumers with its rollout of electric vehicle charging stations at its drug stores. In late July, Walgreens announced that it would have charging stations in 800 locations by the end of this year, which twould make it the country's largest retail host.

Last week, e-vehicle charging station network developer 350Green said that it's working with Walgreens to bring more than 100 public charging stations, including 35 DC Fast Chargers, to the greater Los Angeles area. Plans call for 350Green to begin installing the charging stations in late September.

With infrastructure for e-vehicles still in its early stages, a chief concern of EV drivers has been the ability to drive around an area without worrying about running low on a charge.

"Our conveniently located stores make us uniquely positioned to be able to help reduce concerns about accessibility or 'range confidence,' " commented Mark Wagner, president of community management and operations for Walgreens. "We are excited to offer these charging stations in the greater Los Angeles area as more and more Americans make environmental sustainability a way of life."