Electric trucks deliver savings, silence

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Large red and tan delivery truck with bread imagery and

Sport peppers, relish, tomatoes, onions, celery salt and mustard piled high on a poppyseed bun: Those are the ingredients of a world-famous Chicago hot dog.

The majority of the buns for that Windy City classic “Chicago dog” are made by Chicago-based bakery Alpha Baking Company.

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It is very likely that a zero- or low-emission vehicle, driven by a driver from Alpha Baking, delivers that delicious bun. Alpha Baking makes and delivers everything from the classic poppy hotdog bun to fresh bread and hamburger buns for S. Rosen’s and Natural Ovens.

Alpha Baking is a leader among mid-sized businesses when it comes to using alternative-fuel vehicles. The company has 27 propane-powered and five all-electric delivery trucks.

Alpha Baking started using propane vehicles in 2013, and, in 2018, expanded using clean vehicles with funding support from the Drive Clean Chicago program. Funded by resources from the federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) program and supported by Chicago Clean Cities and the Chicago Department of Transportation, Drive Clean Chicago incentivized Alpha Baking to pursue a fleet conversion from diesel to hybrid-and-electric vehicles.

“We’ve been able to establish a fleet of vehicles that use alternative fuels and electricity,” Bob McGuire, vice president, director of logistics at Alpha Baking, said. “We support cleaning up Chicago and making the environment cleaner for everybody.”

Propane fuel is cost-effective, plentiful and dramatically better for air quality, while all-electric vehicles have zero-emissions and terrific low-end torque. Both types of fuels are perfect for delivering hotdogs.

Chicago Style Hot Dog with Mustard, Pickle, Tomato, Relish and Onion

Superdawg, the Chicago drive-in hotdog stand, is a major Alpha Baking partner and has had the opportunity to closely interact with the new electric fleet. Beyond the benefit for Chicago air quality, electric truck users and the public alike have appreciated key features of the switch from diesel, Superdawg leaders report. One of the best highlights is the muted volume of a running electric truck compared to the typically loud diesel vehicles.

“The electric trucks are great for being in a neighborhood,” Don Drucker, co-owner of Superdawg, said. “We have neighbors that live right across the alley and they can’t even hear the trucks. The only time you hear them is when they back up, and that’s for safety purposes.

“We want to be a responsible business here in Chicago, so I would say to another company that’s interested in working with companies promoting green and electric trucks that the decision is good for business, it’s good for the public, and it’s just good all around,” Drucker said.

Alpha Baking recently added to its fleet powered by zero- or low-emission vehicles.

“Our goal is to lower our carbon footprint as a company,” Paul Nosalik, logistics manager of Alpha Baking, said. “It’s the right thing to do. We’re not as dependent on foreign oil, not polluting, and we feel comfortable delivering to schools and nursing homes in the early morning.”

To see Alpha Baking’s delivery vehicles in action and learn more about their involvement in the Drive Clean Chicago program, watch the video below.

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