Navistar eStar electric delivery trucks get rolling
Consumers may crave electric cars, but fleet operators of trucks and cars are seen as the most promising market to first use electric vehicles on a large scale.
Some U.S. city dwellers will soon have their packages delivered by electric-powered trucks.
Truck-maker Navistar on Thursday officially unveiled its eStar medium-size , four of which will be tested by FedEx in the Los Angeles areas.
The truck can go 100 miles on its batteries which can be charged overnight or removed and replaced with fresh ones, according to Navistar. The company expects to ship 400 of the vehicles to delivery companies or municipalities by the end of this year.
Because of its limited range and because batteries are recharged while slowing down or braking, the truck is well-suited for city routes, which is where FedEx is testing its small fleet. Navistar said it achieved the range through an aerodynamic design and all-electric controls.
Last month, FedEx executives said that the electric truck costs many times what its traditional trucks do. But the company is trying the technology to measure its cost benefits, which it estimates to be about one third the operating cost of diesel delivery trucks. It sent the truck on a cross-country promotional tour last month in advance of putting them into commercial use.
Although cost and infrastructure are still a barrier towill likely be the first customers to use electric vehicles at a large scale, said Oliver Hazimeh, the head of the e-Mobility practice at consulting company PRTM. Fleet vehicles operate well-understood routes and can be fueled on-site by their owners. Staples, too, is testing , in part in an effort to jump-start the market.