Sparking electric-powered powertrain adoption

Sparking electric-powered powertrain adoption

Despite currently record-low fuel prices, emissions, anti-idling and noise regulations are driving medium-duty fleets to consider alternative fuels for their transportation needs. In particular, for operations with local multi-stop routes covering less than 100 miles a day, interest continues to grow in electric-powered delivery and work trucks.

According to Motiv Power Systems, approximately one-third of the eight million fossil-fueled trucks and buses in the U.S. are ideal candidates for electrification. The thousands of electric trucks already on the road, notes the manufacturer of scalable All-Electric Powertrains for commercial vehicles, is a clear indication that electric trucks are viable financially and are a solution that provides for environmental protection.

Last year, Motiv, which partners with truck builders that manufacture electric versions of their fossil-fueled vehicles on current assembly lines, launched its all-electric powertrain on the Ford F59 commercial stripped chassis. The F59 chassis is frequently used in walk-in and step vans.

Motiv has begun delivering to AmeriPride Services the first of ten zero-emissions step vans built on the F59 chassis by Morgan Olson with previously used bodies. Initially, the textile rental services and supply company plans to replace 20% of the fleet at its Vernon, California facility with the electric delivery trucks.

AmeriPride chose the Vernon market for the Motiv–powered vehicles based on route density and infrastructure, financial incentives and the region’s poor air quality. The purchase of the ten all-electric walk-in vans was made possible through a grant from the California Energy Commission.

“AmeriPride is committed to the environment and the communities where we live and work,” said Bill Evans, president and chief executive officer of AmeriPride. “As one of the biggest operators in our industry, we are setting the standard for clean operations and continue to make improvements to our delivery operations and invest resources to test and help advance new green technologies.”

The Motiv all-electric powertrain includes an electric powertrain control system (ePCS), batteries, motor, charger, heating, air conditioning and other components. Installation requires minimal body modification. Also included is universal charging compatibility and remote telematics and diagnostics capabilities.

The new Motiv delivery vehicles for AmeriPride feature an 80-mile range and a 50% battery charge time of two and a half hours. “Our first truck has been running daily routes since it was delivered with zero service incidents,” said Annette Casemero, general manager of the Vernon branch. “Adding electric vehicles to our fleet complements our expanding alternative fuel program and we look forward to adding additional electric vehicles in the coming year.”

Other initiatives AmeriPride is implementing at Vernon and other branches include propane, compressed natural gas and hybrid vehicles; trailer skirting and double-decker semi trailers; fuel-efficient sedans for service teams; and the installation of telematics technology and route optimization software to reduce mileage and increase efficiency.

In addition to the F59 chassis, Motiv offers upfit packages for the Ford E450 and Crane Carrier COE2 Class 8 chassis. “The F59 chassis is incredibly versatile and we’re excited to demonstrate an all-electric option with these AmeriPride trucks,” said Jim Castelaz, founder and chief executive officer of Motiv Power Systems. “It provides a good example to the regional delivery services community that there are real things a company can do to improve regional air quality and reduce fuel costs.”

Motiv also just announced that it is partnering with Creative Bus Sales Inc. on a new electric school bus. Called the Starcraft e-Quest XL, the zero-emission school bus will use the Motiv electric powertrain, the Ford F59 chassis and a Starcraft body. Features of the e-Quest XL bus include a range of up to 85 miles and a 50% charge within two hours.

To meet the growing demand for electric vehicles , Motiv Power Systems received $8.1 million in grant funding from the California Energy Commission to continue the commercialization of its all-electric powertrain at a new manufacturing facility in Hayward, Calif. At full capacity, the facility will produce 480 all-electric powertrains annually.

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