WARRENVILLE, IL - FedEx showcased a prototype of the eStar electric truck during last month's "Charge Up Route 66" tour that began in Chicago and ended in Los Angeles as part of the Fortune Brainstorm Green Conference. FedEx will evaluate the performance of the eStar vehicle in its fleet as it operates in the Los Angeles area.
The eStar all-electric truck is the first medium-duty commercial vehicle to receive U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification as a clean fuel fleet vehicle as well as California Air Resources Board (CARB) certification as a zero emissions vehicle.
This Class 2c-3 electric truck-the first in its category-has a range of 100 miles per charge, making it ideal for many urban applications. When it returns to its home base at the end of the day, it can be plugged in and fully recharged within 6-8 hours.
"For businesses, municipalities and other organizations that demonstrate their environmental commitment, the eStar provides them with a smart option," said Shane Terblanche, general manager, electric vehicles, Navistar. "We have brought the eStar to market to meet the needs of responsible customers who strive to have a positive impact on the environment through energy efficiency."
"FedEx is continually looking to connect the world more responsibly," said Mitch Jackson, Vice President of Environmental Affairs and Sustainability at FedEx. "Navistar's purpose-built electric truck has the potential to assist in making our business more environmentally sustainable and reduce dependence on foreign oil, while ensuring FedEx the reliability necessary to meet our commitment for superior customer service."
The eStar all-electric truck transitioned from concept to reality in August 2009, when President Barack Obama visited Navistar's manufacturing plant in Indiana to announce a $39.2 million federal stimulus grant to build electric trucks. Less than one year later, Navistar has completed testing and validation, developed and delivered prototype vehicles, and received EPA and CARB certifications. Today, the eStar meets all Federal Motor Vehicles Safety Standards (FMVSS) and Navistar is now taking orders and building these all-electric trucks.
"With the first eStar trucks coming off the production line today, Navistar is fully capable to support our customers through select dealers networked in our initial launch regions," Terblanche added. "No other commercial electric vehicle competes with the eStar in terms of capacity, size and application. We believe that customers will love the eStar because of its capabilities as an electric vehicle and not have to change their fleet usage in order to meet the truck's performance."
Unlike other electric trucks that are reconfigured models of fossil-fuel trucks, the eStar truck has been purpose-built for electric power, creating an advantage with a low center of gravity (the battery is between the frame rails, not mounted on top) and a 36-foot turning diameter. The eStar is engineered with superior aerodynamics, a walk-through cab and a quick-change cassette-type battery that can be swapped out in 20 minutes, enabling around the clock operation. It is capable of carrying payloads up to two tons.
With zero tailpipe emissions, each eStar truck can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 10 tons annually. Drivers will be able to experience the ultimate in ergonomic design as the windshield provides nearly 180-degree visibility, the low-floor design provides easy loading/unloading and the noise level is nearly non-existent, which makes this nimble vehicle ideal for urban areas facing noise challenges.
"As the electric vehicle capital of the world, I have no doubt that Navistar chose the best possible location to make the eStar, a first of its kind clean technology truck," said Mitch Roob, Indiana Secretary of Commerce and chief executive officer of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.
Sales of the eStar all-electric vehicle are conducted through a wholly owned Navistar affiliate. The eStar truck is produced through the Navistar-Modec EV Alliance, LLC, the joint venture between Navistar, Inc. and Modec Limited of the United Kingdom.
For decades, Navistar has demonstrated a commitment to technologies that benefit the environment and its customers. In 1989, Navistar was the first original equipment manufacturer to release the smokeless diesel engine and, in 2001, Navistar was the first engine manufacturer to gain certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for meeting particulate and hydrocarbon emissions standards - six years ahead of schedule. The company was also the first to enter line production of hybrid commercial trucks and hybrid school buses.
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