Ryder Sues Chinese-Backed Truck Maker

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Ryder Truck Rental Inc. has filed a $3.7 million federal civil lawsuit alleging that a Chinese-backed truck maker failed to make good on promises to deliver hundreds of Class 5 electric vehicles, some of which Ryder said it partially paid for in advance.

In a civil lawsuit filed last month in federal court in the Southern District of Florida, Ryder said its deals with Chanje Energy Inc., a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based FDG Electric Vehicles Ltd., dated to 2017 when Ryder placed an order with Chanje for 125 electric vans it planned to purchase and lease.

That deal went south with Chanje only delivering a total of 25 electric vans, the lawsuit said.

Then, despite the delivery failures from the 2017 deal, Ryder placed another order with Chanje in November 2018. This time, is was for 1,000 electric vehicles, 100 of which were to be purchased by FedEx Corp. Ryder said it would buy 900 vans and lease them to FedEx, which the package carrier planned to use for commercial and residential pickup and delivery services in California.

Now, with the continuing problems of Chanje’s failure to deliver the vehicles, Ryder said it had no choice but to file a lawsuit.

“This is an action by Ryder to recover damages from defendants’ failure to satisfy their payment obligations under two separate promissory notes, stemming from defendants’ failure to fulfill numerous obligations spanning multiple agreements between the parties,” the lawsuit filed March 16 said. “Ryder has expended enormous efforts to assist defendants’ companies in expanding their presence in the U.S. market, but after facing repeated nonperformance and unfulfilled commitments, Ryder cannot sit idly by and must recover its losses.”

It’s not clear if Chanje delivered any vans to FedEx.

A spokeswoman for Ryder said in a March 30 email that the company does not comment on litigation. FedEx and Chanje did not return requests for comment.

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“The whole idea of the partnership between Chanje and Ryder is to create that springboard effect so we can provide the Chanje product all across the North American market,” Chris Nordh, then Ryder’s senior director of Advanced Vehicle Technology, told Transport Topics in November 2018.

That never really happened, despite indications of trouble as early as in 2017, when Ryder entered into an earlier agreement with Chanje for the purchase of 125 vehicles, according to the lawsuit. For its part of the deal, Ryder said in June 2017, it made the mistake of making an initial deposit in the amount of $4.37 million for all 125 Chanje vehicles.

The 2017 purchase order only required Ryder to pay Chanje an initial deposit of $35,000 per vehicle upon execution of the purchase order and a remaining balance of $10,000 per vehicle upon delivery. The amount of Ryders’ mistake resulted in an overpayment of $35,000 per vehicle for the 22 vehicles that had been delivered, amounting to a total overpayment of $770,000.

Ryder said Chanje deposited the funds and has not totally returned the overpayment.

Eventually, Chanje paid $500,000 toward the overpayment promissory note, leaving it with an outstanding balance of $270,000 on the $770,000 note.

Ryder said it offered Chanje, in exchange for its promise to make payments toward the indebtedness, to specifically pay $270,000 on or before Jan. 31, 2021, and $3.5 million on or before June 30, 2021. But as of the date of the lawsuit filing, Chanje had failed to make the payments, according to Ryder.

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