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TransPower Unveils Latest ‘ElecTruck’

May 27, 2014 in Electric Drive, EVs, Technology by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Navistar International ProStar-Based Vehicle is 100% Electric

Southern California’s TransPower has unveiled its latest fully battery electric Class 8 truck – and continues to argue the case that such zero-emission vehicles can satisfy the drayage needs of the major Los Angeles ports.

TransPower's Navistar International ProStar-based 'ElecTruck'

TransPower’s Navistar International ProStar-based ‘ElecTruck’

New features of the latest TransPower “ElecTruck” include a dual-motor propulsion unit designed to provide up to 300 kilowatts (400 horsepower) of peak power, a five-speed automated manual transmission, a unique power conversion and accessory assembly that replaces the truck engine, and a modular 270 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery subsystem using proprietary TransPower battery management software.

The truck, a fully electrified Navistar International ProStar vehicle, is the second of eight to be converted by the end of 2014 and placed into drayage service near the Port of Los Angles and the Port of Long Beach.

Before, Says TransPower, It Couldn’t Be Done

“In what TransPower believes is an important ‘first’ for an electric vehicle of this weight class, the truck was driven nonstop from TransPower’s headquarters in Poway to [the University of California] campus in Riverside, a distance of 88.2 miles,” states a release. “During the inter-city trip, the electric truck climbed some of the steepest grades in Southern California, achieved a top speed of 65 miles per hour, and consumed 1.3 kilowatt-hours of electricity per mile – about a quarter of the cost of using diesel fuel.”

Under the hood of TransPower's latest 'ElecTruck'

Under the hood of TransPower’s latest ‘ElecTruck’

“Until now, most other battery-electric trucks of this weight class have shown limitations in road performance, operating range, and/or reliability that would have made this kind of inter-city trip unthinkable,” TransPower president and CEO Mike Simon told F&F.

“We’re now confident we can drive our trucks from Poway [TransPower headquarters] to the Ports (without trailers) on a single charge, and so the days of having to ship these trucks on flat-bed trucks, at least for trips between the L.A. and San Diego areas, appear to be over.”

Handled the Desmond Bridge Handily

TransPower notes that in a separate series of tests, in February, an “ElecTruck” successfully hauled a 75,000-pound load “up and down the Gerald Desmond Bridge five times” – the crossing being one of the key I-710 connectors allowing Terminal Island port traffic to reach the Los Angeles highway system.

“It should be noted,” Simon says, “that the 2.88-kilowatt-hour-per-mile (from the bridge trials) is the worst case energy consumption we’ve seen during any of our tests and was solely because this was a full load being hauled up and down the bridge repeatedly.

The Gerald Desmond Bridge connecting Long Beach, Calif. to Terminal Island rises 155 feet above sea level.

The Gerald Desmond Bridge connecting Long Beach, Calif. to Terminal Island rises 155 feet above sea level.

“Operated with average loads in more typical duty cycles is expected to consume closer to 2.5 kilowatt-hours per mile. And we’re continuing to make each successive truck a little more efficient than the one before it, so the best may be yet to come.”

TTSI Likely to Get the First

“The first few trucks will be operated by TTSI, but we are considering expanding the demonstration to include other drayage operators,” Simon says.

TTSI is Rancho Dominguez-based Total Transportation Services, Inc., which besides California has operations in Chicago, Dallas, and more than half a dozen locations on the East Coast.

TransPower notes that funding for its electric drayage truck development has been provided by the California Energy Commission, the U.S. Department of Energy, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, and the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

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Source: TransPower with Fleets & Fuels follow-up

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