electric truck

DAF adds to Europe’s electric trucks

EINDHOVEN, the Netherlands -- DAF Trucks, Paccar’s European counterpart to Peterbilt and Kenworth, has unveiled its first series of CF Electric trucks – adding to the battery-powered nameplates on the other side of the Atlantic. The 4x2 tractor is developed for urban distribution applications. It’s based on the company’s DAF model, with a 210-kW electric motor at the heart of the powertrain. Power is stored in a 170 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, offering a range of about 100 km, which the company says is appropriate for high-volume distribution applications. Torque reaches up to 1,475 lb-ft. Quick charges can be completed in 30 minutes, while full charges are possible in 1.5 hours. The trucks for field tests will be manufactured by DAF, and the full electric installation will be completed by VDL Groep.

Context: Understanding electric trucks

Electric trucks seem to be all the rage today, just as natural gas was to be the industry's salvation just a few years back. There's not much excitement in natural gas today, though it remains a viable alternative fuel. Electric trucks, on the other hand, are just beginning their climb to prominence. Interest in electric trucks peaked in November with the world's first look at Tesla's Electric Semi. Whether Tesla can carry the torch for battery-powered heavy trucks remains to be seen, but Elon Musk isn't only player in the market. Transpower's electric Class 8 tractor uses a conventional drivetrain, but with a 400-horsepower electric motor. It has a range of up to 160 kilometers at full load. I drove a fully electric plug-in Transpower USA Class 8 tractor back in 2015. That truck had been in field tests at the port of Long Beach, California, for two years prior to that. The company made headlines recently announcing a partnership with Meritor that will make its technology commercially available in the spring of this year.

Mack tests truck by wires using eHighway

GREENSBORO, NC - Mack has added to the growing list of electrified truck prototypes, showcasing a plug-in hybrid electric driveline as part of a zero-emission eHighway demonstration in Carson, California. The Pinnacle day cab drew power from Siemens-produced eHighway infrastructure, which came in the form of a mile of catenary systems -- similar to those used to power trolleys or streetcars. Energy was transferred through a "current collector" from Siemens. The demonstration near the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach was in partnership with Siemens, sponsored by the South Coast Air Quality Management District. "Mack continuously investigates alternative solutions to diesel, and the catenary system is just one of a number of projects in which we are currently involved," said Jonathan Randall, Mack's senior vice president - North American sales. The manufacturer has explored several ways to reduce Greenhouse Gases, using everything from plug-in hybrid electric powertrains to alternative fuels such as dimethyl ether (DME).

Two more companies commit to Tesla orders

SEATTLE, WA - Two more companies have added themselves to the list of those pre-ordering Tesla's new fully-electric semi. Shipping company DHL, owned by Deutschhe Post AG, and Fortigo Freight Services said they each ordered a limited number of the trucks due out in 2019. DHL said its 10 trucks will be used for shorter routes, telling Reuters they would be deployed on shuttle runs and same-day customer deliveries, as well as being tested for fuel efficiency on longer runs throughout the United States.

Tesla releases semi prices amid a cash-poor situation

PALO ALTO, CA - In the time it'll take you to read this article, Tesla will have burned through more than US$24,000. The electric vehicle manufacturer released price points for its first three fully-electric Class 8 truck models, due to hit the streets in 2019, but industry watchers are also expressing concern over the manufacturer's spending speed and lack of liquidity. Bloomberg reported last week that the company is spending US$8,000 a minute, or nearly a half-million dollars an hour. At that spending rate Tesla will run out of cash in the early morning hours (eastern standard time) of Aug. 6, 2018, according to Bloomberg's math.

Tesla rolls ahead with Class 8

HAWTHORNE, CA - Elon Musk has officially unveiled the all-electric Class 8 Tesla Semi, following months of speculation and delays. Now the question is whether his company will become the industry disruptor it wants to be. A pair of prototype day cabs unveiled in California on Thursday featured a streamlined bullet-like design, evoking a look traditionally left to concept vehicles. And there were plenty of world media representatives there to share in the experience, each shepherded into a secure hanger for a brief peek. Just a day before, Musk went so far as to tweet this truck "can transform into a robot, fight aliens, and make one hell of a latte". Yes, it was hyperbole - there was no cappuccino machine anywhere -- but the Chief Executive Officer and product architect attracted plenty of attention for his latest announcement. More than 1,000 people were on hand for the launch, cheering every point that Musk made, especially when a new roadster rolled out of the back of the trailer.

Navistar, VW promise electric powertrain

ATLANTA, GA - Navistar will bring a medium-duty electric powertrain to the North American marketplace by 2019/20, drawing on technical expertise available through Volkswagen Truck and Bus. "There is an opportunity for electric and electric vehicles in the North American market," said Troy Clarke, chairman, president, and Chief Executive Officer, referring specifically to the Class 6/7 segment. "It is still in the early stages of the product development cycle there, but that's the target." Volkswagen officially secured a 16.6% stake in the company in March, and is already expected to bring a big bore diesel powertrain to North America by 2021 in addition to sharing other technologies. It won't be Navistar's first foray into electric vehicles. The company launched its Class 3 eStar van several years ago, but that model was ahead of its time, Clarke said in a presentation during the North American Commercial Vehicle Show. MAN, a European nameplate owned by Volkswagen, recently released an electric truck of its own in the form of the eTruck.