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New York drug store Duane Reade adds electric trucks

New York drug store Duane Reade adds electric trucks

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Pilot rollout is latest stage of the pharmacy chain's efforts to reduce energy consumption across its operations.

Duane Reade said Monday that it will be the first retail pharmacy in the United States to add all-electric vehicles to its delivery fleet through a deal with Smith Electric Vehicles.

Duane Reade, which is the largest drug store chain in New York City, will add medium-duty Newton trucks (pictured) as part of its pilot program to test fleet electrification. The Newton vehicles can travel up to 100 miles on a single overnight charge. The company said the operating costs over one year are one-third to one-half those for a conventional diesel vehicle. Newton also uses regenerative braking, which provides a charge to the truck's battery in stop-and-go situations.

An added upside that isn't expressed in the press release: Newton is quiet, which means it shouldn't run afoul of the noise regulations that rule many urban environments, including New York.

Duane Reade said it worked with Milea Truck Group and Continental Truck Body to bring the Smith Electric vehicles into the New York area and to adapt the truck bodies for its use (and branding). The company doesn't say how many trucks it will test initially.

The program is part of an extensive Duane Reade initiative to cut energy consumption. Other ongoing efforts include the use of LED lighting in new and renovated stores (up to 98 percent of the fixtures), which helps cuts lighting power use by up to 40 percent. The drug store chain was also able to reduce its air-conditioning costs by switching to LED lighting, because they put out less heat than their counterparts. Finally, Duane Reade is using Polyflor flooring, which was produced using 30 percent less water than other commercial alternatives, according to the company.

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure