Medium-Duty Electric Trucks Multiply to Meet Demand
Commercial truck makers reveal new electrified medium-duty vehicle platforms at NTEA Work Truck Week 2023.
Several commercial truck OEMs revealed new medium-duty EVs at NTEA’s 2023 Work Truck Week (WTW) in Indianapolis, Indiana. Interest in Class 5, 6 and 7 EVs has ramped up rapidly in recent years, and many OEMs are rolling out new models to meet the increased demand.
Mack MD Electric
Mack Trucks unveiled its MD Electric, the company’s first medium-duty electric vehicle. The MD Electric will be produced alongside the diesel-powered MD model sibling at the company’s facility in Roanoke Valley, Virginia, and features a three-phase permanent magnet synchronous motor and nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) oxide lithium-ion batteries in either a 150-kWh (two-battery) or 240-kWh (three-battery) configuration.
“Mack established itself as an electrification leader with the heavy-duty Mack LR Electric refuse vehicle, and we’re excited to add the MD Electric to our zero-tailpipe emissions lineup,” said Martin Weissburg, global president of Mack Trucks. “This is another important step in our efforts to drive decarbonization and a more sustainable future, and we plan to continue investing in technologies that help improve the environment and society.”
The MD Electric is Mack’s second EV, following the LR Electric that went into production in December 2021 (www.sae.org/news/2021/12/mack-begins-production-of-lr-electric-truck). The MD Electric reportedly will be available in both Class 6 and Class 7 ratings. Mack states that the Class 6 model has a GVWR of 25,995 lbs. (11,791 kg) while the Class 7 model has a GVWR of 33,000 lbs. (14,968 kg). The max payload of the MD Electric is 19,400 lbs. (8,800 kg).
“The Mack MD Electric joins the full lineup of Class 6 to 8 vehicles Mack offers to help customers meet their application needs,” said Jonathan Randall, president of Mack Trucks North America. “Building on the success of the diesel-powered Mack MD Series, the Mack MD Electric will help our customers meet their sustainability goals without sacrificing the durability, reliability and total cost of ownership for which Mack is known.”
Mack states that the MD Electric was developed specifically for medium-duty applications. It is available in 4x2 configurations, features a regenerative braking system and can be charged through AC or DC charging units. The stated AC charge time at 19.2 kW is listed at seven hours for two batteries and 11 hours for three batteries. DC fast charge times at 80 kW are 100 minutes for two batteries and 160 minutes for three batteries.
The maximum range for the MD electric is 140 miles (225 km) for two-battery models and 230 miles (370 km) for three-battery configurations. Max system output is 260 hp (194 kW) and 1,850 lb-ft (2508 N-m).
Blue Arc Crew Cab
Blue Arc, the EV subsidiary of The Shyft Group, unveiled its latest vehicle at WTW: an all-electric Class 5 Crew Cab. Daryl Adams, president and CEO of The Shyft Group, introduced the truck during the company’s press conference at the show.
“It’s about flexibility, innovation and creating unique solutions for our customers,” Adams said. “The new Blue Arc Class 5 All-Electric Crew Cab is truly in a class of its own. Never before have you seen a cab like this on a work truck, and customers are asking for it.”
Blue Arc states that this vehicle is optimized for crews with a walk-in-van style cab that features a sliding door and weather-protected steps for safe curbside entrance and exit. The interior measures 85 inches (216 cm) high and 88.5 inches (225 cm) wide, which reportedly allows crews to walk up into the cab and stand or sit comfortably or set up a mobile workstation.
“Not only is the Crew Cab EV designed explicitly for crew comfort, safety and productivity, but this unique and highly flexible cab chassis allows for a variety of bodies for stake trucks, box trucks, dump trucks and more,” Adams said. “The applications are endless from landscaping to moving vans to power companies and others. This innovative truck brings new markets to Shyft and helps accelerate the transformation to EVs across our country.”
The Crew Cab van utilizes Blue Arc’s proprietary modular Class 5 EV chassis and features lithium-ion liquid-cooled battery packs and an optional 450-watt-hour integrated solar roof package. It is reportedly optimized for Level 2 and DC fast charging with an accelerated charge time of 2-6 hours and a 200-plus mile (322-plus km) range.
The aluminum dump body on display at WTW was designed by the company’s DuraMag brand and features a payload capacity ranging from 6,000-10,000 lbs. (2,720-4,535 kg). Blue Arc plans to integrate a full suite of vehicle and driver safety technologies such as 360° cameras with an in-dash HD display, front parking sensors, blind spot detection and tire pressure monitoring.
The Class 5 EV chassis also will be available in strip chassis and cowl chassis in the near future. Blue Arc states that it intends to use this chassis to electrify buses, shuttles, motorcoaches and other vehicles requiring a Class 5 platform.
Isuzu N-Series EV
Isuzu Commercial Truck announced its first all-electric production model, the N-Series EV. The 2025-model-year Class 5 truck will feature a 19,500-lb. (8,845-kg) GVWR and a battery-electric platform developed by Isuzu as well as an all-new cab design. The N-Series EV will reportedly be available in the first half of 2024.
“The N-Series EV is a game-changer, not only for us, but for our dealers and our customers,” said Shaun Skinner, president, Isuzu Commercial Truck of America and Isuzu Commercial Truck of Canada. “We have always prided ourselves on offering a variety of powertrains to meet the needs of our owners. As we look at the regulatory landscape ahead of us, we know that the demand for a medium-duty truck powered by electricity is going to increase dramatically.”
The N-Series EV will be available across North America, as well as Japan. Wheelbases range from 132.5 to 176 inches (337 to 447 cm), and there will be four choices of battery capacity (60, 100, 140 and 180 kWh). The largest battery has a claimed range of 235 miles (378 km).
The N-Series EV features both DC fast charging and AC (Level 2) charging capability. According to Isuzu, AC Level 2 charging times range from 5.5 to 10 hours and a DC fast-charging time range from 1 to 2.5 hours depending on battery configuration. Each battery is a 20-kWh lithium-ion pack and will be stacked in groups of three, five, seven or nine depending on desired capacity.
Hino M5e and L6e EVs
Hino Trucks expanded its product range to include EV versions of its M- and L- Series medium-duty trucks. Branded Me Series and Le Series, the new electric trucks revealed at WTW will be available in 2024 and will integrate SEA Electric’s SEA-Drive power system. The Class 5 M5e cabover and Class 6 L6e conventional models come equipped with battery capacities of 138 kWh and 220 kWh, respectively.
“Starting in 2024, Advanced Clean Truck (ACT) mandates are starting to kick off in California, which are growing the demand for electric vehicles, and many of our customers want to add EVs to evaluate operational capabilities,” said Glenn Ellis, president of Hino Trucks. “Over the past several years, we have made significant strides in the push toward electrification. This strategic collaboration with SEA Electric is part of our plan to provide powertrain options to meet the needs for our customers and markets throughout the United States.”
Hino Trucks claims that its national dealer network is well prepared for the coming changes, noting that each dealer already is high-voltage trained from Hino’s previous hybrid product. The OEM plans to support these trucks with Hino INCLUSEV, an end-to-end EV enablement solution that includes consulting, sales, infrastructure, single-source financing, support and service.
“With the support of Hino Edge telematics metrics and driver behaviors, we developed our strategy and best fit for our initial EV vocational offerings to include delivery and final-mile applications,” said John Donato, SVP of sales and marketing. “We’ve got the vehicles. We’ve got the support. We’ve got all the tools needed to help our current and future customers move closer to a cleaner future.”
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