Fastenal has long been known as an innovator among industrial distributors. It was one of the pioneers of industrial vending — which now comprises more than half of the company’s total sales. Recent innovations out of the Winona, Minnesota-based company include the December 2019 launch of its Product Locator App, and the company’s Fast PODs — essentially mini-Fastenal stores that can be placed at a customer’s job site — launched in November 2016.
Well, Fastenal is at it again, now getting into the electric vehicle market. The company has been selling personal and fleet trucks for a while now, but on Feb. 26, it announced it has partnered with Penske Truck Leasing in a pilot program that uses electric trucks as part of the company’s own distribution fleet.
As of early January, Fastenal is running a battery electric Freightliner eM2 straight truck to service branches in the Los Angeles metro area. The eM2 service makes deliveries of a wide-range of products to 28 Fastenal branches and customer-specific Onsite locations, from LA to coastal Orange County to the Inland Empire.
Fastenal president and CEO Dan Florness said in a press release, “We’re excited to help move this technology forward. It adds a new dimension to our own sustainability efforts, and we believe it can offer some insights to help bring electric trucks into wider commercial use.”
Fastenal says the eM2 is ideally suited for local transportation of goods as well as for last-mile deliveries – a good fit for Fastenal’s customer-centric distribution model, providing a consistent flow of product from regional hubs, to local markets and ultimately to customers’ points-of-use. The truck is part of Freightliner's Electric Innovation Fleet, which is a 30-vehicle test fleet of Class 6/7 and Class 8 trucks being used to test the integration of battery electric trucks in large commercial fleets.
Says Penske Truck Leasing president Art Vallely, “We’re committed to helping customers like Fastenal accelerate innovation within their truck fleet operations. Fastenal is an innovative industry leader, and they’re now using the latest, leading-edge electric vehicle technology available on the road today through Penske’s co-creation efforts with the Freightliner Electric Innovation Fleet.”