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Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation’s All-Electric Walk-In Van Chassis Debuts at NTEA Work Truck Show; Enova Drive System, Tesla Battery Pack

The all-electric WIV chassis. Click to enlarge.

Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) presented the preproduction plug-in all-electric walk-in van (WIV) chassis at the 2010 National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA) Work Truck Show. The new chassis model is the only one domestically engineered and the first in the industry to be completely all-electric (includes HVAC system) in North America, according to FCCC.

The all-electric chassis, developed in partnership with Enova Systems is built on the popular FCCC MT-45 WIV chassis platform. (Earlier post.) The development program with Enova involved the engineering and integration of Enova’s 120kW all-electric drive system technology into the new MT-45 chassis. Targeted at the pickup and delivery market, the MT-45 chassis boasts a GVWR of 14,000 to 19,500 lbs. The durable steel straight-rail chassis frame reduces flex and bowing to minimize chassis stress while carrying heavy payloads.

All-electric walk-in van. Click to enlarge.

The FCCC electric WIV also marks the first commercial vehicle application of a Tesla Motors Li-ion battery pack, which provide up to a 100-mile driving range on a single charge. The battery pack will charge from fully depleted to fully charged in six to eight hours. The batteries featured on the electric system also capture and store energy during the regenerative braking phase of the vehicle’s operation. The regenerative braking system reduces friction during braking, resulting in less brake wear and extended brake life.

Other features include a parking pawl within the gear box and a push-button shifter for improved efficiency.

The all-electric MT-45 chassis is expected to go into full production during the first quarter of 2011 and will undergo testing with major US pickup and delivery fleets. On select delivery and service routes, studies show that customers of the electric vans will save up to $15,000 per vehicle annually compared with traditionally powered walk-in vans. The quiet operation of the all-electric chassis also makes for an enjoyable driver experience. This new chassis has a flat-leaf spring front and rear

Our vision is clearly focused on transitioning the all-electric chassis into the mainstream of our walk-in van production programs. This new program demonstrates that FCCC remains fully committed to engineering chassis options that lower operating costs and decrease carbon footprints for our customers.

—Bob Harbin, FCCC president

FCCC initiated our all-electric project well before stimulus money and federal grants were available for alternative-power transportation projects. FCCC viewed the all-electric project as the logical next step in its alternative-power product offerings, as well as a strategic opportunity to continue its leadership role in the WIV industry.

—Jonathan Randall, sales and marketing director at FCCC

Along with the all-electric chassis, FCCC has experience manufacturing compressed natural gas (CNG) WIV chassis, currently manufactures hybrid-electric vehicle (HEV) chassis and will offer full production of the hydraulic hybrid vehicle (HHV) chassis in Q4 2010 for the walk-in van market segment. These alternative-power vehicles have proven to offer significant fuel savings benefits.

FCCC also designs and manufactures alternative-fuel chassis for the commercial bus and motorhome market segments. In 2008, FCCC introduced ecoFRED, the motorhome industry’s first hybrid-electric chassis, and the FCCC MB-HEV hybrid-electric commercial bus chassis in response to a growing customer demand for alternative-fuel power that provides the same excellent performance and durability as FCCC’s premium diesel-powered chassis. At the 2009 NTEA Work Truck Show, FCCC introduced its HHV chassis to the commercial vehicle industry.

Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, a Daimler company.



Any good reasons why it has to be a brick on 4 wheels with maximum wind resistance?

Is it because speed will be limited to 50 Km/h?


"The FCCC electric WIV also marks the first commercial vehicle application of a Tesla Motors Li-ion battery pack, "
Maybe battery/royalty income is how Tesla may IPO before the Model S while discontinuing the Roadster next year.

Henry Gibson

This vehicle would be better served with the ZEBRA batteries that have a very wide range of operation temperatures and much cheaper and easier cooling and cell management systems. The need to keep the internal cells of a ZEBRA battery hot is easily managed by delivery trucks that return to base every day. Electric vehicles should alway have a liquid fuel powered charger on board. It can be very small and be considered as essential as a spare tire.

General Electric has tested the ZEBRA batteries in heavy mining trucks and hybrid railroad locomotives and is starting up the manufacturing of them.

ZEBRA batteries can be used in stationary systems after their power and energy levels are reduced lower than that required for automotive use. Cell failures usually allow the continued use of the battery pack with only a small decrease in available energy. Failed cells can even be replaced and the others reconfigured, if necessary, when the battery is retired to stationary use. ..HG..

Bob Ronzio

While the basic idea of a battery powered truck is
sound, the problems of range and weight remain. I believe you a missing some important options and off the shelf technology that should help resolve those issues. Generally its all about the math... however I believe its all about simplicity.Its time to be way outside "the box" but not to far so that it won't be useful to the average trucking company.
I believe the less complicated the better.

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