Image Courtesy of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America

Image Courtesy of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America 

A combination of regulatory pressure, economic incentives, technological advancements, and sustainability initiatives is fueling demand for electric-powered trucks in North America.

Now, in conjunction with its 40th anniversary in the United States, Isuzu Commercial Truck of America is rolling out its new NRR EV. It is the first electric production Class 5, low cab forward truck in the U.S. and Canadian marketplace. This powerful eTruck, supported by AC and DC fast charging technology, has a range of up to 235 miles.

Meeting the Needs of a Changing Market

Isuzu’s 2025 N Series EV is part of an expanding lineup of trucks designed to offer the right vehicle configuration for specific customer needs. While demand for zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) is growing, Isuzu expects electric and internal combustion engine (ICE) trucks to co-exist for the foreseeable future.

The NRR EV, assembled in the U.S., proactively aligns with California’s ZEV program, which mandates fleet purchases of only ZEVs beginning in 2024. Moreover, after Jan.1, 2025, ICE vehicles that reach the end of their useful life must be removed from service.

While state and federal ZEV regulations in the United States are still evolving, it’s clear that fleet demand for electric trucks will continue to grow. In fact, EVs could account for 15% of global truck sales by 2030, according to one report – with urban light duty trucks driving that growth.

Image Courtesy of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America

Image Courtesy of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America 

Fleet owners have varying needs depending on locations and payloads. The NRR EV offers versatility with four different battery configurations – from 60 kWh to 180 kWh. Range can vary significantly based on factors like cargo weight, terrain, temperature, and driving habits. 

“The sweet spot for the Isuzu electric truck is for applications with predictable ranges and operating conditions,” says Isuzu Assistant Vice President of Marketing, Brian J. Tabel. “Fleet owners will be able to choose the right battery configuration to align with their specific needs, routes, payloads, and operating conditions.”

Powering the Future

Every NRR EV is powered using from three to nine 20 kilowatt-hour, lithium-ion battery packs. The self-contained batteries attach to the outside of the frame rail on the chassis. Compared to conventional lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries store more energy in less space. These batteries also are lighter, last longer, and don’t require traditional maintenance.

A modular battery design gives the NRR EV more flexibility compared to fixed battery packs. The batteries’ packs power a three-phase, 150-kilowatt electric motor that delivers the kind of performance expected from a Class 5 truck.

The battery packs are hardened for crash-worthiness and long-term durability. The NRR EV is powered by proven LG Chem batteries, with an expected lifespan of at least 10 years based on current industry standards. Battery capacity varies depending on use and decreases over time.

Charging time depends on a truck’s battery configuration and options. Level 2 AC charging solutions from partners like ChargePoint are expected to be viable for most fleet operations, with minimal infrastructure cost. Overnight charging should be suitable for many fleet operations. Level 3 DC fast charging may require infrastructure upgrades depending on the facility's existing power capabilities. Fleets that need faster charging can use DC to replenish the batteries to 80% in about 30 minutes.

“Current electric demand is location and application specific,” says Tabel. “A landscape company may drive its trucks 25 miles a day, but they’re sitting most of the time at work sites. By contrast, a beverage distributor is making continuous stops all day long. That’s why we are offering battery configurations that align with different ranges and operating needs.”

Maintenance requirements for the NRR EV should be significantly lower than for gas/diesel trucks, with no oil changes and less brake wear thanks to regenerative braking. Some coolant maintenance will still be required.

In conjunction with the rollout of the NRR EV in mid-2024, Isuzu plans to provide an online calculator to help fleet owners identify available incentives based on zip code. Incentives and rebates, which vary by location, may be available to offset both vehicle and infrastructure costs.

Ensuring Performance, Safety, and Comfort

The NRR EV has a 19,500-pound gross vehicle weight rating, which means that it’s built to handle tough, Class 5 fleet demands. Wheelbases that range from 132.5 to 176 inches will enable fleets to use bodies up to 20 feet long. Enhanced aerodynamics will improve operational efficiency and lower repair costs – boosting ROI.

In addition to zero emissions, the NRR EV includes new safety and convenience features. Isuzu's Global Electrical Architecture (IGEA) is being introduced with the new electric trucks. IGEA is a new electrical architecture platform designed to be scalable and modular, allowing it to be used in a wide range of vehicles. One of the key features of IGEA is its support for multiple powertrain options, including battery electric vehicles (BEVs), hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), and ICE vehicles.

Image Courtesy of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America

Image Courtesy of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America

The all-new cab design of the NRR EV prioritizes driver comfort with a higher seat back and improved ergonomics. Standard driver and outboard passenger airbags and advanced driver assistance systems will improve safety. The trucks also come standard with a multilingual 7-inch multi-information display for improved visibility. The steering wheel is designed for easier handling and includes switches for operating the display, audio system, cruise control, and hands-free phone calling. 

The NRR EV Advanced Driver Assistance System package that includes automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, full-range adaptive cruise control, distance alert system, miss acceleration mitigation, and forward vehicle start notification is standard.

With over 300 sales and service centers nationwide, Isuzu has the service and support infrastructure that fleet owners rely on for efficiency and productivity. Isuzu trucks have been a mainstay of the North American economy since the KS22 hit the road in 1984. Now, Isuzu is zooming ahead with a versatile electric truck that will give fleets the performance they need to embrace ZEVs.

"The N-Series EV represents a paradigm shift for Isuzu that will resonate with our dealerships and customers," says Tabel. "We anticipate soaring demand for electric trucks. We're not just keeping pace: Isuzu is helping to steer the charge towards a more sustainable electric future."

Contact your local Isuzu dealer to learn more about adding the NRR EV to your fleet.