Navistar Begins Production of All-Electric Commercial Truck

Navistar, Inc. (NYSE: NAV) announced delivery of its first full-production all-electric commercial truck to FedEx (NYSE: FDX) and intends to deliver 400 units by the end of 2010.

The company said it is currently taking orders for the new eStar. It is the first medium-duty commercial vehicle to receive U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification as a clean fuel fleet vehicle as well as California Air Resources Board (CARB) certification as a zero emissions vehicle.

The truck has a range of 100 miles per charge, making it ideal for many urban applications. When it returns to its home base at the end of the day, it can be plugged in and fully recharged within 6-8 hours.

FedEx will evaluate the performance of the eStar vehicle in its fleet as it operates in the Los Angeles area.

The eStar all-electric truck transitioned from concept to reality in August 2009, when President Barack Obama visited Navistar’s manufacturing plant in Indiana to announce a $39.2 million federal stimulus grant to build electric trucks.

Unlike other electric trucks that are reconfigured models of fossil-fuel trucks, the eStar truck has been purpose-built for electric power, creating an advantage with a low center of gravity (the battery is between the frame rails, not mounted on top) and a 36-foot turning radius. The eStar is engineered with superior aerodynamics, a walk-through cab and a quick-change cassette-type battery that can be swapped out in 20 minutes, enabling around the clock operation. It is capable of carrying payloads up to two tons.

With zero tailpipe emissions, each eStar truck can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 10 tons annually. Drivers will be able to experience the ultimate in ergonomic design as the windshield provides nearly 180-degree visibility, the low-floor design provides easy loading/unloading and the noise level is nearly non-existent.

The eStar truck is produced through the Navistar-Modec EV Alliance, LLC, the joint venture between Navistar, Inc. and Modec Limited of the United Kingdom.

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