The race to produce electric vehicles (EVs) is not limited to passenger cars and motorcycles. Manufacturers are just as interested in producing commercial vehicles powered by electricity. From box trucks to tractor-trailers, EV makers want to replace diesel engines with electric motors. It turns out that linen providers are ideal candidates for testing the technology.

A case in point is Utah-based Alsco. According to a recent press release, the nationwide uniform and linen provider has added four electrically powered step vans to their fleet in Southern California. Assuming the vehicles perform as expected – and there is no reason to believe they will not – Alsco has plans to deploy more in the future.

Depot managers have been impressed with the trucks thus far. Alsco says they cost less to run and maintain. They also estimate that the trucks will offset approximately one hundred metric tons of CO2 emissions. As EVs, the trucks produce zero emissions.

Last Mile Delivery

So why are linen providers ideal candidates for EVs? There are multiple reasons, beginning with the fact that they specialize in what is considered ‘last mile’ delivery. Companies like Alsco serve both rural and metropolitan regions. But the bulk of their business is in densely packed cities. Their trucks do not have to travel hundreds of miles in a given day.

The strength of the EV model is that it provides robust and reliable service for a few hundred miles at a time. A route driver whose daily deliveries cover no more than one hundred miles drives an EV without having to worry about stopping to recharge. The truck has plenty of range for that day’s deliveries. It is charged overnight.

Reducing Urban Pollution

The high concentration of uniform and linen services in metropolitan regions means that service providers are contributing to urban pollution every time they run their diesel-powered trucks. Take diesel engines out of the equation and a provider actually contributes to reducing pollution.

This is big in major cities like Los Angeles and Chicago. Reducing air pollution increases the quality of urban air. City residents breathe easier. City streets stay cleaner. Indeed, reducing urban pollution offers a lot of benefits above and beyond reducing greenhouse gases.

Contributing to Sustainability

The third reason the commercial linen industry is a perfect candidate for EVs is its ongoing push to become as sustainable as possible. Throughout the industry, companies like Alsco have been retooling their equipment and processes over the last few years. They now use less water to launder uniforms and linens. They create less waste. With, with the introduction of EVs, they now have the opportunity to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and cut their emissions simultaneously.

All of this is important in an industry working hard to improve its reputation. The reality is that commercial laundering is dirty business. That much is unavoidable. But there are ways to clean dirty linens and return them to customers while also being more sensitive to sustainability issues. Bringing EVs into the fleet is just one of them.

It seems inevitable that internal combustion engines will eventually give way to electric motors. It could be that Alsco’s purchase of four electric step vans is just the start of a program that will eventually see all of their urban trucks replaced. That would not be a bad thing.

The commercial linen industry is a perfect candidate for EVs as they specialize in last-mile delivery. They are already working to reduce urban pollution. And with an eye on sustainability, EVs seem to be the next logical step in improving weekly linen delivery.

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