The conversation around electric trucks continues, with more and more companies entering the market. But what do you do if you’re happy with your work truck, and not ready to change all of your specs?
One option is repowering your truck, or replacing your gas or diesel powertrain with an electric powertrain.
evLABs offers electric powertrains for trucks and vans ranging from 14,500-33,000 pounds GVWR. Frank Ziegler, director of sales and marketing, explained that the company has the ability to work directly with truck OEMs at the factory level to install its powertrain.
On top of that, converting an existing vehicle to run on electricity is more affordable than buying an all-new electric vehicle. These conversions may also be eligible for grant funding.
“With our conversion/repower option, it is a fraction of the cost to purchase a new electric vehicle,” Ziegler explained. “In some cases, we could be 50% lower than the cost of a new electric vehicle.”
Converting your existing vehicle to electric can offer a lower upfront cost than purchasing a new vehicle. But it can also bring benefits in the long run, as it means using the same parts and equipment you may already have in stock, as opposed to learning how to maintain a whole new vehicle.
“We keep the vast majority of the OEM parts intact and replace the engine and fuel system with our electric powertrain,” Ziegler said. “Leaving the OEM parts intact allows the customer to service the vehicle easily. Unlike other powertrain providers, they have proprietary parts that take time and effort to stock and there is a learning curve to serving.”
This simplifies the adjustment process when maintaining your truck, but it can also make driver training easier because, from an operator perspective, the driving experience should be mostly the same, as opposed to adopting an all-new type of truck from a new OEM.
“The drivability is the same because of the parts that are left in the vehicle. Electric trucks that are offered from the factory have a learning curve to maneuver and you need to adjust your driving habits,” Ziegler said.
evLABs offers a variety of battery pack configurations to match a fleet’s duty cycle. Range needs may depend on how the vehicle is used — a service truck that stays on a job site may not need to travel as far on a charge as a delivery van.
Adapting to the Electric Truck Future
For fleets interested in a new electric truck, a factory truck with evLABs’ electric powertrain may be an option in the future. The company has partnered with Alkane Truck Company to develop a battery-electric Class 6 cabover featuring a 26,000-pound GVWR.
According to Ziegler, the company plans to demo this truck to fleets once this project is completed, and display the truck at the ACT Expo in Long Beach, Calif., next spring.