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September 06, 2012

For Belching and Gas, Duane Reade 'Prescribes' EVs



Appropriately enough, Duane Reade, the New York City-based pharmacy chain, has found a remedy for gas. Its new fleet of 14 electric delivery trucks doesn’t run on fossil fuels or belch fumes.

To reduce the impact of air pollution originating from the tailpipes of its legacy diesel-powered delivery trucks, Duane Reade has purchased 14 zero-emission commercial electric vehicles from Kansas City, Missouri-based Smith Electric Vehicles—replacing nearly 25 percent of the company's fleet with vans that run on lithium ion battery cell technology.

The purchase was made in partnership with Mission Electric—a partnership among and the Mayor’s Offices of Boston, Philadelphia, and New York City and not-for-profits, including the New York City and Lower Hudson Valley Clean Cities Coalition, dedicated to educating and engaging the public around electric vehicles.

The company said that the Newton-model delivery vehicles will reduce Duane Reade's total green house gas impact by about 20 percent. That is the equivalent of removing more than 1,000 vehicles' tailpipe emissions from New York's streets.

In addition, because the new trucks do not require combustion, their operation is almost silent, reducing noise levels from overnight deliveries.

“New Yorkers live in the fast lane, and this partnership will help them also take the green lane," said David Bragdon, director of the New York City Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. "Duane Reade's investment in electric vehicles will help meet our ambitious PlaNYC goal of reducing NYC's green house gas emissions.  We're pleased to work with all the partners in the Mission Electric campaign to drive forward to a greener, cleaner city."

As part of the switchover, Duane Reade picked five stores out of its 257 retail sites within the city’s five-borough area that were “EV-ready,” and then posted an invitation on the Mission Electric website for New Yorkers to vote for two more locations that should receive 100 percent electric delivery. Voters made their selections via an interactive map over a period of 35 days, ending on September 2.

Following more than 300 votes and a close dash to the finish line, the retail locations at Cross Bay Boulevard and 163rd Avenue in Queens and at Flatbush Avenue and Park Place in Brooklyn “stormed their way to the top,” according to a company statement, with only four votes separating them.

“As for the other stores,” Duane Reade promises, “while you haven’t won this time, our mission is not yet complete. With your help we have raised awareness [of] electric transportation and proved that it is feasible option for large and small businesses in New York City.”

"Partnering with Mission Electric is an important component of our effort to be green," said Michael Fowles, fleet manager of Duane Reade. "This exciting project is an excellent way for us to get our stores and our customers involved in the process of a cleaner future. It fosters true engagement around common urban challenges of air pollution, noise, and congestion. Through this program we can more easily work together to continue to make NYC such a wonderful place to live and visit."

"Electric transportation isn't the future; it's the present—and we want to ensure that everyone has a say on how this new technology unfolds," said Christina Ficicchia, executive director of the New York City and Lower Hudson Valley Clean Cities Coalition. "NYCLHVCC is excited to be Mission Electric's founding partner and we hope that more businesses follow the example set by Duane Reade and the City of New York to get cleaner vehicles on the streets."

Duane Reade's truck routes average 15 to 20 miles through stop-and go city traffic—a perfect route for an electric vehicle that does not waste gas during traffic gridlock.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman

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