Freightliner’s MT-EV looks a lot like a sleek, curvy version of every white delivery van you’ve passed on the highway. But, like the Tesla Roadster, what really sets it apart is what’s under the hood. All-electric vans aren’t new, but the MT-EV — the walk-in delivery van unveiled at the Hybrid Truck Users Forum conference in Dearborn, Mich. this week — highlights some of the latest clean-tech options available to today’s fleet manager.
Developed by Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation and Enova Systems, the MT-EV uses the same lithium-ion batteries that power the Tesla Roadster. The Tesla’s beauty (and exclusivity) earns it a lot of press, but the ultra-utilitarian MT-EV emphasizes efficiency and green technology. That’s potentially great news for fleet operators looking for any solution they can find to protect the bottom line in a limp economy. The van has improved styling and aerodynamics, enabling it to travel up to 100 miles on a single cycle. The MT-EV also features an onboard charging system capable of replenishing the battery’s power within six to eight hours. Freightliner, citing industry reports, predicts the vans can pay for themselves within 3-4 years.
A few other technical details about the MT-EV from Fleet Owner:
There is a one-piece bonded windshield for additional visibility. The instrumentation panel adds additional features that constantly monitor the EV operating system to provide the driver information, such as battery state of charge data. The full-feature gauge and informational display includes a larger messaging center display area which enables easier reading of fault codes and maintenance notifications.
Fleet managers everywhere would be smart to at least consider seeding their fleets with all-electric van models. The economic sense of such a transition certainly differs for each company, but oil prices and the sluggish economy make the technology difficult to ignore.
In May, FedEx employees set off on a cross-country tour to showcase their first all-electric van, built by Navistar. The benefits, however, don’t apply exclusively to the largest enterprise fleets on the road.