Fast Charging Fuels Delivery Biz

A local company finds sustainability, value and convenience in "going electric" with its fleet.

It is hard to miss the yellow Chevy Bolt with the words "Come to Life" regularly plugged into MGE’s DC Fast Charger  in our downtown Madison visitor parking lot. But even more interesting than the electric vehicle's vibrant design is the story behind it.

"We want to do our part in changing the way direct store distribution is done, and we want to be at the forefront of electric-vehicle distribution," Todd Rich, director of U.S. operations for Yerba Mate (yer-buh mah-tay) Co., told Energy 2030 Together.

While the goal of many distribution companies is to deliver the highest volume of product in the most cost-efficient way possible, for Yerba Mate Co., another top priority is delivering its product in the most energy-efficient way possible. MGE's DC Fast Chargers help the company to do that.

Employee with electric vehicle"The Bolt can carry about 120 cases of our drink, and, fully-loaded, it has about 150 miles of range. If it weren't for the public fast chargers provided by MGE, our driver would have to go back to our Madison warehouse to charge on a much slower unit before heading back out to finish his route. The service MGE provides is vital to our business," said Rich.

The Bolt is one of nearly 50 electric vehicles (EVs) throughout the U.S. and Canada used by the company to deliver Guayaki-brand Yerba Mate—an organic, canned-drink derived from the naturally-caffeinated Yerba Mate plant of South America.

Fast charging stations

MGE's network of public charging stations has three DC Fast Chargers, which can provide 60-to-80 miles of range in about 20 minutes.

"The electricity used to fuel all of our public EV charging stations is produced by wind farms in Wisconsin and Iowa," said Debbie Branson, MGE New Market Manager and the voice behind EV Rider, an online resource from MGE to share the latest EV news and information.

MGE's public charging network covers most of the Madison metro area. And more charging stations are planned for the future. Transportation accounts for more than 25% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. "Going electric" can reduce this impact.

"Our philosophy is that we'll get the most up to date technology in electric vehicles that will fit our needs. Today it's a Chevrolet Bolt, but we fully expect bigger, cargo-type electric vans to come around in the near future," said Rich.

published: Jul-26-2018