Demystifying medium-duty battery electric trucks

Demystifying medium-duty battery electric trucks

The advantages and misconceptions of medium-duty electric vehicles for vocational tasks.

Upfitting is a key to vocational truck success. Paired with the right powertrain and chassis, the body tackles those tough applications—everything from delivery services to refrigerated transport to construction. With battery electric truck configurations rolling large into the medium-duty space, it begs the question: How different is upfitting an medium-duty EV compared to a diesel truck?

“It is no different at all,” answered Marianne McInerney, chief strategy officer at Mullen. “In fact, I think some of the upfit options are much more innovative than we sometimes see on the diesel side, which is very traditional. With diesel trucks, we know what the upfit is; we know the chassis. One of the things that we really focus on the electric side in terms of innovations is lightweighting. Can we lightweight some of the upfits that are on there? And in some cases, we can.”

Upfitting is just one example of how the conversation around medium-duty BEVs is evolving as the focus shifts from skepticism around feasibility to discussions on how these vehicles can meet and exceed the demands of various vocational tasks.

“There are a lot of misconceptions as it relates to EVs,” McInerney said. “First, can the product do what my ICE vehicle can do? The answer is yes, it can. The second part is how can I charge it—can I move off of the fuel cards and start plugging in? And the answer is, yes, you can. Today, thanks to many government programs, it’s even more affordable and there are more options coming to market. I think that misconception is being addressed.”

One of the early questions often asked is about range.

“That’s where it becomes important that we understand what your business case is,” McInerney said. “What is your delivery cycle? How does that work? Are you doing electrical work? Are you a plumber? Are you a caterer? Let us understand your payload. Let us understand what your business cycle is and we can help you find the right product for that duty cycle.”

Then there’s understanding the cost of ownership—a topic that McInerney addressed head on. She pointed to the economic advantages of the Mullen electric commercial vehicle lineup, which offer competitive acquisition and ownership costs to make them a financially viable option for fleets.

Click to watch the video for a wide-ranging conversation on medium-duty EVs that touches on nearly every aspect of putting them into vocational operations.


No script? No plan? No problem. Welcome to Fleet Equipment Unscripted—the video interview series that connects you with the greatest minds in the heavy-duty trucking world. Fleet Equipment Unscripted is sponsored by Hendrickson.

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