Navistar unveiled this prototype battery-electric version of its medium-duty International MV...

Navistar unveiled this prototype battery-electric version of its medium-duty International MV truck. A regular production eMV model is slated to come on the market in 2021.

Photos: David Cullen

With a wrapped vehicle teasingly on display, Navistar drew a standing-room-only crowd for its Oct. 28 press conference at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show

Attendees heard first about several other major developments before the big reveal: The first showing of a prototype for a battery-electric drive version of its International MV medium-duty truck, dubbed the eMV, which the OEM is planning to bring to full production by early 2021.

The eMV prototype is not only distinguished by its all-electric drive system, but by a highly swooped-down aerodynamic hood— allowed for by the removal of the MV diesel engine--  that the OEM said also boosts safety by increasing forward visibility.

Based on the current production version of the MV Series, the eMV is powered by an electric motor with peak power of over 474 kW— or 645 HP— “allowing it to be able to pull any load required,” according to Navistar

The prototype’s continuous power is 300 kW, or more than 400 HP, which is available at all times. The system, exclusive to Navistar, enables peak efficiency across the entire operating range, said the OEM.

The vehicle was designed to accommodate multiple battery capacity options that range from 107 to 321 kWh. The OEM stated that “customers operating a truck with a 321 kWh battery in typical pickup and delivery cycles should expect to be able to travel up to 250 miles on a single charge.”

Tapping Technology

A company spokesperson told HDT that the eMV was developed in part by tapping technology developed by Navistar’s strategic partner, Germany-based Traton Group, the parent of Volkswagen Trucks, MAN Trucks, and Scania Trucks.

Traton’s Brazilian-based business unit, Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus, already produces an electric medium-duty truck, a 268-hp cabover model called the VW e-Delivery 11, which is slated to go on sale in Mexico in 2021.

The eMV was not the only electric news Navistar had. Reflecting the growing attention being paid electric trucks across the marketplace, the OEM announced the rollout of a new business unit, NEXT eMobility Solutions. This Detroit-based operation will “deliver customized electrification solutions: to truck and bus customers.

"Companies interested in operating electric trucks have more questions than answers; they are looking for a partner who also brings clarity," said Persio Lisboa, Navistar executive vice president and COO. "NEXT combines the technical expertise required to develop leading electric vehicles with the industry experience to deliver custom solutions that go beyond the vehicle."

Vehicles developed by NEXT will be offered under the International Truck and IC Bus nameplates and will be sold and supported by International Truck and IC Bus dealers, respectively. Navistar plans to have IC Bus electric school buses available at the end of 2020 and, as aforementioned, International medium-duty electric trucks will be introduced in early 2021.

Lisboa said NEXT will use a omprehensive "four Cs" approach to developing eMobility solutions:

  • Consulting, “using experts in commercial truck engineering, charging infrastructure, telematics and more to craft a custom implementation plan for each customer's business, while optimizing each product for its usage and duty cycle.”
  • Constructing the vehicle, “taking advantage of Navistar's world-class commercial vehicle manufacturing capability.”
  • Charging, with solutions “designed and delivered to each customer through new partnerships.”
  • Connecting, using advanced solutions including Navistar's OnCommand Connection telematics and remote diagnostics platform, to monitor vehicle performance and provide support through the International and IC Bus service networks.

The NEXT team will be headed by Gary Horvat, Navistar's vice president for eMobility. He brings extensive electric vehicle experience from both the automotive and technology startup space. Horvat led technology development for the electric bus product line of Proterra, Inc., where his team set a world record for the longest range of any electric vehicle. He was also responsible for the development and application of powertrain and electrical components at Denso International, and before that, led improvements to Fisker Automotive's extended-range electric vehicle.

International 360 Platform

Turning to telematics, Navistar announced the launch of a unified fleet management and service communications platform, called International 360.

Friedrich Baumann, Navistar’s president, Aftersales, said International 360 is the only OEM service communications tool that integrates service communications and remote diagnostics into one comprehensive solution. It is integrated with over 24 telematics service providers through OnCommand Connection, Navistar's advanced remote diagnostics platform.

The 360 platform also has full integration capability with customers' existing fleet maintenance software providers, fleet management companies and other providers, so that customers can receive International 360 data through their existing systems. “And, it is the only OEM service communications tool that supports all-makes fleets within one solution, with no per-VIN surcharges,” Baumann noted.

Swedish Visitor

A Scania XT “tipper” truck, like this one on display in Navistar’s booth, may one day find work...

A Scania XT “tipper” truck, like this one on display in Navistar’s booth, may one day find work hauling from mines in Canada.

Also prominently on display in a bright safety-zone orange, was a cabover Scania XT “tipper” truck. It wasn’t there just to represent Traton, Navistar’s strategic partner, but to draw attention to a memorandum of understanding that Navistar has signed with Sweden-based Scania, one of Traton’s subsidiaries,”to explore opportunities for Navistar to support mining customers in the Canadian market.”

Persio Lisboa said that Navistar studied the needs of a select group of companies in the Canadian mining industry and then identified a number of service and support requirements that can be addressed using a combination of International Truck and Scania products and services. The Scania mining products would be distributed through Navistar and supported by a limited number of International Truck dealers in Canada.

"Demand from the mining market is changing," said Lisboa. “Companies are exploring more sustainable solutions that improve worksite flexibility, increase uptime and reduce total operating costs. Working with Scania as a partner will help us rapidly achieve scale in addressing this unique market segment with comprehensive and powerful solutions."

Originally posted on Trucking Info

About the author
David Cullen

David Cullen

[Former] Business/Washington Contributing Editor

David Cullen comments on the positive and negative factors impacting trucking – from the latest government regulations and policy initiatives coming out of Washington DC to the array of business and societal pressures that also determine what truck-fleet managers must do to ensure their operations keep on driving ahead.

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