The Shyft Group Delivers Groundbreaking EV Ecosystem
This article appeared in the July/August 2022 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.
As the demand for delivery increases, so does the number of last-mile delivery vans on the road. Seeing an opportunity to fill this rapidly growing need while also advancing eco-friendly technology, The Shyft Group has stepped up to the challenge with its groundbreaking Blue Arc™ EV Solutions.
Blue Arc started with an idea to develop an EV chassis that could be used for a variety of commercial and fleet vehicle markets. Before long, engineers were developing an entire ecosystem of products to support and advance the future of electrified mobility.
This ecosystem includes three products — a commercial-grade, purpose-built EV chassis, a fully reimagined all-electric Class 3 delivery walk-in van and a portable, remote-controlled charging station called the Power Cube. Shyft developed this line in part from its own desire to make a positive impact on the environment. The other half of Blue Arc’s inspiration? Shyft’s customers, says Daryl Adams, CEO and President.
“Our customers actually asked us to get involved because what they were receiving were vehicles that didn’t fit their needs,” Adams explains.
For the delivery vehicle, Shyft chose to go directly to Class 3 (10,000 to 14,000 lbs.) because that’s where they envisioned the opportunity to make improvements on battery range, truck payload and user operation. Given their deep experience manufacturing specialty vehicles, it was a perfect fit, says Adams.
How it All Came Together
In June 2021, Shyft announced it was bringing its Blue Arc EV chassis and vehicle to the market. By December, prototypes were ready for the chassis and the delivery van as the company prepared to unveil the product line at NTEA’s Work Truck Week in March 2022.
“People were shocked at how fast we did it,” Adams recalls. “We just did what we’re known for, which is being flexible, agile, nimble, proactive and solutions-based.”
Customer feedback during the research and development process led to the creation of the third product in the Blue Arc line. Adams explains, “One of our customers said, ‘This is great, but I don’t know how to charge it.’”
After hearing that, the Shyft team had a debrief meeting and came up with an innovative solution — the Power Cube™. It’s a fully portable, remote-controlled charging station that charges off the building power during non- peak hours when delivery vehicles are typically out.
“When drivers return, they can charge their vans then or really anytime they need to,” Adams says.
Because it can draw power from wind and solar and be used independently of the grid, Adams sees a potentially limitless future for use of the Power Cube — such as helping communities power back up after a natural disaster.
“Each one has solar panels on top and wind turbines to make it green,” Adams says. “These can be delivered to communities suffering power loss from blackouts and natural disasters.”
Adams credits Shyft’s culture of innovation and providing data- driven solutions for propelling the project forward. Now the company finds themselves in the driver’s seat not only for a new market but for a pivotal role in the EV industry and emerging green technologies.
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