Truck rental company Ryder says it owes nearly $ 4 million to EV startup Chanje after failing to deliver 100 of the 125 pickups promised in 2017, according to a previously unreported case in Florida.
The lawsuit comes as a result of a major shift toward electric propulsion in the commercial vehicle space, with new businesses raising billions of dollars and established carmakers regularly announcing regular delivery vans and trucks.
Chanje came out of stealth in 2017 and is one of a number of startups for electric vehicles that have called California home. Like many of its peers, it garnered early attention by hiring some former Tesla executives and even stripping co-startup talent Faraday Future. Like many of the new start-ups in California, Chanje owns a larger Chinese car company – in this case one called FDG.
But while others at the time focused on luxury passenger vehicles, Chanje decided to make electric delivery vans instead. Ryder was Chanje’s first major customer and promised to buy back 125 vans in 2017. The truck rental company agreed to pay $ 45,000 for each of Chanje’s vehicles, with $ 35,000 per vehicle up front and $ 10,000 per vehicle upon delivery. . As such, Ryder made an initial deposit of $ 4,375,000 in 2017. Ryder was also supposed to be the exclusive sales and service provider for the vans.
Ryder received 22 vehicles from Chanje by the end of 2017, but when he had to pay the $ 10,000 deposit for it, he mistakenly paid the full $ 45,000 for each, an overpayment of $ 770,000. According to the lawsuit, the trouble started.
Ryder made ‘repeated requests’ to repay the overpayment, but Chanje told the truck rental company, according to the complaint, that he did not have the cash to repay Ryder. Eventually, Chanje delivered three more electric vans, but never delivered the remaining 100. Ryder tried to terminate the contract and recover the $ 3.5 million deposit he paid on the vans he never received, but Chanje persisted.
In early 2019, according to the lawsuit, Ryder got FDG to agree to lend money to Chanje to pay the $ 770,000 overpayment. At the end of 2019, Ryder again got FDG to agree to lend money to Chanje to repay the $ 3.5 million deposits. Eventually, Chanje Ryder repaid $ 500,000 of the overpayment money, but the truck rental company has not paid a dollar since. Ryder says that’s why he still owes $ 3,770,000.
Ryder, Chanje and FDG did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In 2018, Ryder arranged for FedEx to rent 900 Chanje buses and buy another 100. But when Chanje and FDG started fighting for the money they owed in 2019 and 2020, Ryder tried to give the start to the electric van and its parent company. It has reached an agreement with Chanje and FDG which said that if they delivered at least 700 vans to FedEx, Ryder would waive the $ 3.5 million deposit money. “Chanje failed to meet its obligations and delivered the 700 vehicles” to FedEx, Ryder’s lawyers wrote.
It is unclear whether Chanje delivered any vans to FedEx. FedEx also announced in early 2020 that it is developing a groundbreaking charging infrastructure with Chanje at several dozen stations in California, and the status of the project is also unclear. FedEx did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Chanje has been quiet since its debut in 2017, apart from the announcements with FedEx. The commencement has been sued more than once in court in Los Angeles by former employees who say they owe tens of thousands of debts and bonuses. Chanje was also beaten with liens by the California Secretary of State for failing to pay taxes.
In the time since Chanje appeared on the scene, companies for electric vehicles have risen as governments around the world try to reduce harmful emissions. The UK’s Arrival was recently launched after merging with a special sourcing company, raise nearly $ 700 million at a valuation of $ 5.4 billion. General Motors has even spelled out an entire company dedicated to commercial EVs.