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 electric delivery truck , four of which will be tested by FedEx in the Los Angeles areas.

The FedEx eStar truck on its way to work in Los Angeles. Click to watch a video of the truck in action.

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 to alternative fuel vehicles, fleet operators will 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 all-electric and hybrid trucks , in part in an effort to jump-start the market.

Tags:
Tech Culture
About the author

Martin LaMonica is a senior writer covering green tech and cutting-edge technologies. He joined CNET in 2002 to cover enterprise IT and Web development and was previously executive editor of IT publication InfoWorld.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Show Comments Hide Comments
Latest Galleries from CNET
The best and worst quotes of 2014 (pictures)
A roomy range from LG (pictures)
This plain GE range has all of the essentials (pictures)
Sony's 'Interview' heard 'round the world (pictures)
Google Lunar XPrize: Testing Astrobotic's rover on the rocks (pictures)
CNET's 15 favorite How Tos of 2014