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TECHCRUNCH

FedEx is turning to a relatively new and unknown startup as it ramp up its efforts to electrify its fleet of delivery vans. The company announced Tuesday plans to add 1,000 electric delivery vehicles from Chanje Energy, a California-based and China-backed startup founded in 2015.

FedEx is purchasing 100 of the vehicles from Chanje Energy. It will lease the remaining 900 Chanje vehicles from Ryder System. The purpose-built electric vehicles will be delivered on a rolling basis over the next two years.

The vans, which can travel more than 150 miles when fully charged, will be used by FedEx Express for commercial and residential pick-up and delivery services in California. 

Chanje’s roots grew out of Smith Electric Vehicles, a now defunct electric-truck company based in Kansas City. Chanje was originally meant to be joint venture between Smith and FDG Electric Vehicles. Smith no longer operates and Chanje, led by Smith’s former CEO Bryan Hansel, has gone on to grow.

Chanje, which is targeting last-mile delivery and energy (or charging) services, has a strategic partnership with Hong Kong-based FDG.

Chanje’s vans are being manufactured by FDG in Hangzhou, China; the startup’s headquarters are in Los Angeles and has some operations in Kansas City. Eventually, Chanje has plans to open an assembly plant in the U.S. The company hasn’t determined a location yet.

FedEx has been using EVs as part of part of its pickup-and-delivery fleet since 2009; and its sustainability goal promise that it will continue to add more. The company has a goal to increase vehicle fuel efficiency 50 percent from a 2005 by 2025.

FedEx had more than 2,860 alternative-fuel, electric, and hybrid-electric vehicles at the end of 2017. The EVs have the potential to help FedEx save 2,000 gallons of fuel while avoiding 20 tons of emissions per vehicle each year, according to the companies.