Mack Trucks took the wraps off its MD Electric Class 6/7 truck this week as it prepares to begin production in the fourth quarter. It’s also bringing to life a new Truck-as-a-Service subscription model for the vehicle.
The truck maker has been showcasing the medium-duty truck’s capabilities to trade press, dealers and customers this week in Sonoma, Calif., against the backdrop of Sonoma Raceway’s sweeping turns and stomach-churning elevation changes.
The first production run of the MD Electric is already spoken for, Mack officials say, with strong demand for an electric truck that serves applications in which electrification makes sense today. George Fotopoulos, vice-president of Mack’s e-mobility business unit, noted half of Classes 6/7 trucks travel less than 125 miles (216 km) today, and 80% stay below 250 miles (400 km).
This means that 80% of that market can switch to the MD Electric today and get its daily work done on a single charge.
“This is the population we are going for in regard to the capability of this vehicle,” Fotopoulos said.
Covers 80% of applications
In order for the electric MD to be successful, it must be able to do the same job as its diesel counterpart, and this is true for 80% of all applications the truck covers, Fotopoulos said. “This truck has 1:1 capability. You don’t need three to four trucks to do the job [of one diesel].”
The Class 6 version can carry 150 kWh of electric capacity from two batteries, while the larger Class 7 can produce 240 kWh with three batteries. For a quick and dirty, back-of-the-napkin range calculation, subtract 10 from those figures, meaning the Class 6 with two batteries will travel about 140 miles (224 km) while the Class 7 with three batteries will boast a range of about 230 miles (368 km).
The Class 7 chassis with 240 kWh battery capacity weighs in at 13,600 lb. (sans body), about 3,000 lb. more than a diesel. The truck is fitted with conventional Meritor axles with 5.57 ratio to provide a top-end speed of about 70 mph (112 km/h). The truck puts out about 260 hp and 1,850 lb.-ft. of torque.
The lithium-ion batteries have a nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) chemistry composition and are air- and software-cooled, requiring no liquid for thermal management. The batteries have been packaged inside the frame rails, which simplifies body upfitting and also improves handling, Fotopoulos told me during a lap of Sonoma Raceway, since the battery weight is concentrated toward the center of the chassis.
Available by subscription
Mack is backing the MD Electric with a five- or six-year Ultra Service Contract designed to cover all the preventive maintenance the truck will require over the covered period. It is also getting creative in how it is financing the truck, rolling out its Mack ElectriFi subscription service.
“It’s an all-inclusive, usage-based model,” explained Fotopoulos. “You don’t pay for the vehicle, you pay for how much you use the vehicle at a set cost per mile.”
The subscription covers use of the body and chassis, complete maintenance over the life of the subscription, and even insurance against physical damage (not liability). The subscription comes with an AC wallbox charger with an optional DC fast-charger. Customers must meet certain distance requirements, beginning at 1,700 miles (2,720 km) a month. Pricing is structured so that the monthly fees decrease as usage increases.
For seasonal applications, for example, the customer would pay a lower fee per mile of use during its busiest months. Contract terms extend from three to six years.
“Mack and Mack Financial Services have given customers several optimized financing options that will help support their businesses,” Fotopoulos said in a related release. “ElectriFi Subscription, the other financing options and the Mack Ultra Service Contract were designed to help remove any hesitancy about financing, service and support that customers might experience as they electrify their fleets.”
ElectriFi is available in the U.S. market immediately and plans to bring it to Canada are underway, with no set timeline.
The Mack MD Electric is likely to primarily be spec’d with a box truck for local deliveries, but small dump bodies, flatbeds, and tanker applications are all possible fits. Fotopoulos said it’s an exciting time to be launching the new model, as the total cost of ownership (TCO) equation is aligning in these medium-duty applications.
Even with certain variables (such as high interest rates and higher insurance costs given the greater value of an electric truck compared to a diesel) taken into consideration, at 30,000 miles (48,000 km) a year, Fotopoulos said cost parity can be achieved by year three assuming a 12 cent kWh cost for electricity against US$4/gallon for diesel.
“TCO does come to life with our product,” Fotopoulos assured.
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