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UniFirst To Test Electric Route Trucks

Two UniFirst eStar vans rely solely on electric power

Navistar zero-emission eStar vans will service customers in Chicago & Stratford, CT

UniFirst Corp. recently announced that starting in December 2011 it will begin testing electric-powered vans from Navistar for its customer deliveries.

These Navistar eStar vans, which produce zero emissions, will provide work apparel and facility cleanliness products to UniFirst customers in Chicago and Stratford, CT. “In recent years, we’ve incorporated a wide variety of environmentally friendly practices inside the walls of our laundering and servicing operations,” said Adam Soreff, director of communications at UniFirst. “Now we’re looking to expand our ‘greener’ business practices outside of them.

Stratford and Chicago were chosen for the testing because these densely populated areas offer the company the biggest opportunity to make real and significant reductions in carbon emissions and pollution. Two electronic vans will serve as test vehicles so that UniFirst can see how they perform and determine whether the company should add more to its fleet of vehicles. 

Designed by Navistar, a green vehicles design specialist, the eStar vans can handle a 4,000 lb. load and go for up to 100 miles on a single charge. “The vans can be fully recharged in eight hours,” said Mark Aubry, vice president of sales and marketing for electric vehicles at Navistar. “That means our electric vans can be plugged in overnight and be ready to go the first thing in the morning.”

Unlike other electric vans that are reconfigured models of fossil-fuel trucks, the eStar van has been “purpose-built” for electric power and operational safety, Aubry says. “The vans feature a deep, wrap-around front window, as well as a backup camera and mirrors to give drivers a commanding view of their entire surroundings. Our goal has been to make our electric vans both the greenest and safest ones on the road today.”

Soreff said this move is the latest example of how UniFirst seeks out environmentally conscious solutions that benefit its customers and the environment. “This latest effort literally demonstrates we are driven to be ‘green’ well beyond just the color of our logo.”