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Published on May 13th, 2010 | by Nick Chambers

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Navistar Officially Begins Production of Its All-Electric Commercial 2-Ton Truck

Following only 7 months after receiving a $39 million federal stimulus grant to build it, and only 2 months after announcing a partnership with FedEx to provide all-electric parcel delivery trucks, Navistar is showing that it’s ready to commence full scale production of its groundbreaking commercial delivery truck — which now has a name — the eStar.

Navistar claims that they will be able to produce 4,000 of the trucks this year, and that roughly 200 organizations have already expressed interest in placing the vehicles in their fleets. Amazing, considering the initial offering price of the eStars is a gargantuan $150,000. That’s about $100,000 more than a similarly-equipped commercial diesel truck.

Although that may seem like a ridiculous premium, consider this: A typical commercial route driven in a 6 mpg diesel truck that is about 90 miles per day, 6 days per week, 52 weeks per year could cost between $11-12K per year in fuel. That’s even with a commercial fuel contract locked in at $2.50 per gallon of diesel. Over the 15 year expected lifespan of these commercial vehicles, that $100,000 premium could easily pay for itself.

The eStar is the first medium-duty commercial vehicle (class 2c-3) to receive U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification as a clean fuel fleet vehicle as well as California Air Resources Board (CARB) certification as a zero emissions vehicle. It’s also the first all-electric truck in its category. What’s even more amazing is that in 7 months, the eStar has been certified to meet all Federal Motor Vehicles Safety Standards and Navistar is now taking orders and building these all-electric trucks.

The trucks have an 80 kWh battery pack which provides a 100 mile range. They can carry up to 4,400 pounds and have a gross vehicle weight rating of 12,100 pounds. Although the electric motor only puts out a relatively scant 102 HP (70 kW), it does provide 221 ft-lbs of torque. Okay, so they won’t be winning any races… but maybe your birthday gift from Grandma will be all the better for it?

As we’ve heard all along, the eStar is produced as a result of the Navistar-Modec EV Alliance — the joint venture between Navistar and Modec of Britain.

Working off a 220 Volt, 3 phase charging system, Navistar claims the entire 80 kWh battery pack can be recharged in about 6-8 hours. Quick enough to come back day after day and drive your set delivery route through rain, snow, sleet and storm.

Source: Navistar



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Not your traditional car guy.



  • douglas prince

    Wouldn’t an 80kWh battery pack give it a range closer to 350 miles?

  • douglas prince

    Wouldn’t an 80kWh battery pack give it a range closer to 350 miles?

  • Marc

    How many charge cycles can this battery pack take ? Curious as to what the price of a replacement battery pack would be on a $150 000 electric truck !

    Marc P.

    • Nick Chambers

      Marc and Douglas,

      To answer both of your questions, in a car like the LEAF an 80 kWh battery would take it 300-400 miles before needing to be recharged. But add in all the weight and loss of aerodynamics and I’m sure you’re now talking at least half that efficiency. Given that it’s a commercial truck and they want it to last and have the durability required from commercial operations, they are likely limiting the depth of discharge of the battery pack to half full… Which is why they only let it go 100 miles and why the recharge time is relatively quick. This strategy also would give the battery a really long life of at least 10 years.

      In terms of cost to replace the pack, you’re probably in the range of 50K at today’s prices. Buy given that prices are dropping so fast and the battery will last 10+ years, by the time it needs replacing we’ll probably be talking more like 20K.

    • Nick Chambers

      Marc and Douglas,

      To answer both of your questions, in a car like the LEAF an 80 kWh battery would take it 300-400 miles before needing to be recharged. But add in all the weight and loss of aerodynamics and I’m sure you’re now talking at least half that efficiency. Given that it’s a commercial truck and they want it to last and have the durability required from commercial operations, they are likely limiting the depth of discharge of the battery pack to half full… Which is why they only let it go 100 miles and why the recharge time is relatively quick. This strategy also would give the battery a really long life of at least 10 years.

      In terms of cost to replace the pack, you’re probably in the range of 50K at today’s prices. Buy given that prices are dropping so fast and the battery will last 10+ years, by the time it needs replacing we’ll probably be talking more like 20K.

  • Marc

    How many charge cycles can this battery pack take ? Curious as to what the price of a replacement battery pack would be on a $150 000 electric truck !

    Marc P.

    • Nick Chambers

      Marc and Douglas,

      To answer both of your questions, in a car like the LEAF an 80 kWh battery would take it 300-400 miles before needing to be recharged. But add in all the weight and loss of aerodynamics and I’m sure you’re now talking at least half that efficiency. Given that it’s a commercial truck and they want it to last and have the durability required from commercial operations, they are likely limiting the depth of discharge of the battery pack to half full… Which is why they only let it go 100 miles and why the recharge time is relatively quick. This strategy also would give the battery a really long life of at least 10 years.

      In terms of cost to replace the pack, you’re probably in the range of 50K at today’s prices. Buy given that prices are dropping so fast and the battery will last 10+ years, by the time it needs replacing we’ll probably be talking more like 20K.

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