BEV Truck Manufacturers Charge Ahead at 2022 NTEA Show

Several companies announced new product offerings and prototypes of BEVs at the NTEA Work Truck Week in Indianapolis.

Blue Arc's commercial EV chassis was on display at NTEA's 2022 Work Truck Week in Indianapolis. (Matt Wolfe)

This week’s 2022 NTEA Work Truck Week show in Indianapolis, Indiana saw a flurry of BEV reveals and announcements. The market for Class 3 through 6 EVs is getting more crowded by the day, evidenced by several interesting developments and product offerings revealed on the show floor. A sampling of the most significant:

Shyft’s commercial BEV chassis features customizable length and wheelbase, enabling it to underpin a wide range of medium-duty trucks and end uses. (Matt Wolfe)

Blue Arc EV

Blue Arc EV Solutions, a subsidiary of the Shyft Group, revealed and exhibited a commercial grade EV chassis and a Class 3 BEV walk-in delivery van, as well as announcing a fully portable, remote-controlled charging station called the Power Cube. “We created Blue Arc not just for companies looking to evolve their parcel-delivery fleets to electric power, but for the people – for our customers and the drivers,” said Shyft CEO Daryl Adams. “We are ready to charge ahead and bring the EV promise to reality for future generations.”

Blue Arc's delivery van, which features an integrated solar-roof package, is made from a mix of aluminum and composites. (Matt Wolfe)
Lion Electric revealed several BEV prototypes at Work Truck Week, including this refrigerated body developed in partnership with Thermo King. (Lion Electric)

“The EV walk-in delivery van is going to be one-of-a-kind in the market,” said Brad Sigmon, VP of Sales at Randy Marion Automotive Group. “Nobody else currently has the capability to manufacture both the chassis and the bodies like Blue Arc.” The Blue Arc delivery van is a Class 3 BEV designed for high-frequency, last-mile delivery fleets. The cargo area features 635-800 cubic feet of storage and offers several interior configurations depending on the application. The van also features an integrated solar-roof package and lightweight aluminum honeycomb shelving package. The exterior of the van is made from a mix of aluminum and composites. The vans will be offered in lengths 14 feet (4.3 m) to 18 feet (5.5 m) and is scalable from Class 3 up to Class 6.

Shyft’s commercial BEV chassis features customizable length and wheelbase, enabling it to underpin a wide range of medium-duty trucks and end uses, including last-mile delivery, mass transit, and recreational vehicles. The company states that the chassis’ modular design will accommodate multiple weight ratings and classifications, with a payload of up to 5,000 lb. (2268 kg).

The stripped chassis and delivery van share an 800-volt propulsion system, which is powered by a 120-240 kWh battery pack. The lithium-ion battery packs are liquid-cooled and provide an approximate range of 150 to 175 miles (241 to 282 km). Shyft states that range can be enhanced through expanded battery options. This system is capable of Level 2 and DC fast-charging and can be fully replenished in two to six hours.

SEA revealed its own prototype chassis, which is powered by its SEA Drive propulsion system. (SEA)
Shyft Group has stated that the Blue Arc BEV delivery van will be hitting the road in 2023. (Blue Arc)

Prototypes of the delivery van and chassis are expected to reach customers for route testing in the coming months and will be supported by Shyft’s R&D facility in Plymouth, Michigan. Shyft expects to begin building the chassis and electric delivery vans at a plant in the southeastern United States by 2023.

Blue Arc’s Power Cube also was announced at the Work Truck Week show. The Power Cube is a fully portable, remote-controlled charging station with onboard energy storage to serve a variety of commercial charging needs. Shyft states that this charger does not need to be connected to the grid to function and that it can have vehicles up and charged in 1-2 hours. The unit is powered by 500 kWh to 3 mWh lithium-ion batteries that can also be supplemented with wind and solar power with panels that track the sun for maximum exposure. The company plans to debut the Power Cube in April 2022.

SEA Electric

SEA Electric announced its latest stripped chassis, the SV6 EV, which it intends to sell in the North American market. The SV6 is a Class 6 BEV chassis powered by the company’s SEA-Drive propulsion system, comprised of a 138 kWh battery powering an AC motor with a peak output of 335 hp and 1,845 lb-ft (2013 Nm) and an unladen range of 170 miles (274 km). The system also can be fast-charged at a rate of up to 100 kW.

"With the SV6 EV, we bring to the market a solution that has been proven by over a million miles of real-world use, with the package set to revolutionize the important step van market across North America," said Tony Fairweather, founder and CEO of SEA Electric. Fairweather emphasized that the design of the SV6 resulted in one of the lightest and most cost-effective BEVs in the last-mile delivery segment. Of note is the truck’s lack of cooling system for the batteries, which Fairweather stated was found unnecessary to hit performance targets.

“We’ve been able to develop a battery solution and a power system that enables us to operate from -4 deg. Fahrenheit up to 140-deg Fahrenheit without the need for any active thermal management,” said Fairweather. “In engineering out the thermal management, we subsequently reduced a significant amount of weight, cost, and inefficiency. We still have a radiator mounted in the chassis, but because we’re only cooling a couple of key components such as the motor, DC/DC converter and the onboard charger when the vehicle is plugged in, we’ve got a much smaller, lighter and lower-cost radiator.”

SEA also said the system's proprietary management software is designed to optimize power distribution to the various sub-systems of the vehicles, with this energy conservation backed up by passive and active stages of regenerative braking, which charge the medium-voltage batteries while the vehicle slows. SEA also intends to offer a Class 3, 4 and 5 BEV step-vans by the end of the decade.

Lion Electric

Lion Electric Company announced several key partnerships with truck upfitters to provide refrigerated, dry freight and aluminum stake body options for their Lion6 zero-emission truck. The new partnerships include equipment upfit options from Morgan Truck Body, Thermo King, Knapheide and CM Truck Beds.

Several Lion6 BEVs are on display at the show representing these partnerships. They include a refrigerated concept in partnership with Morgan Truck Body and Thermo King, an 18-foot platform body in partnership with Knapheide, and a 26-foot (7.9-m) aluminum platform body in partnership with CM Truck Beds.

“The wide variety of upfit components we are debuting at this year’s Work Truck Week is proof that electrification has arrived for a broad range of truck fleet customers,” said Brian Piern, Chief Commercial Officer of Lion Electric. “We are pleased to be working in close collaboration with four industry leaders as we continue to move toward a zero-emission future in trucking and look forward to continuing to introduce new applications to our highly flexible Class 5 to Class 8 chassis vehicles.”

The Lion6 is a Class 6 BEV with a range of 200 miles (322 km). The company claims to have 550 heavy-duty BEVs on the road, which have covered over 9 million miles (14.5 million km) to date. The Lion6 also features the company’s proprietary battery thermal-management system (BTMS), which keeps the battery pack in an ideal operating range, therefore minimizing the effects of extreme hot or cold temperatures on the vehicle’s range.