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Accelerated Development: What’s New in All-Electric Medium- and Heavy-Duty Trucks

As you navigate the opportunities and challenges brought about by fleet electrification, it’s crucial to stay informed about the latest product news.

This roundup delves into the latest news in the heavier all-electric truck segment from industry leaders Mack Trucks, Isuzu, Hino, Nikola and Tesla. Consider the impact these electric vehicles might have on your fleet.

Mack Trucks: MD Electric
Availability: End of 2023
Range: Up to 230 miles

Mack Trucks unveiled its first electric medium-duty truck, the Mack MD Electric, at the 2023 Work Truck Week held in Indianapolis.

The MD Electric is the second electric vehicle in Mack’s lineup, following the Mack LR Electric refuse vehicle. The MD Electric will be available in Class 6 and 7 models, with respective GVWRs of 25,995 pounds and 33,000 pounds. Both models will be produced at Roanoke Valley Operations in Virginia.

The MD Electric is designed to support various applications, such as dry van/refrigerated, stake/flatbed and dump vocations. The electric truck is powered by nickel manganese cobalt oxide lithium-ion batteries – available in 150-kWh and 240-kWH configurations – and supports AC and DC charging. Its regenerative braking system helps capture energy during the vehicle’s multiple daily stops.

Designed for reliability and durability, the MD Electric features a three-phase permanent magnet synchronous motor and shares the same styling as its diesel counterpart, the Mack Anthem.

Mack dealers, many of which are already Mack Certified Electric Vehicle dealers, will provide support for the MD Electric.

Isuzu: N-Series EV
Availability: Early 2024
Range: Up to 235 miles

Isuzu Commercial Truck of America has announced its first all-electric production model, the N-Series EV, to be available in the first half of 2024.

Key features of the 2025 NRR EV include a 19,500-pound GVWR; wheelbases from 132.5 to 176 inches; a standard cab design; four battery-capacity options with a range of up to 235 miles; DC fast-charging and AC (Level 2) charging capability; and an optional advanced driver assistance system package for increased safety.

The N-Series EV will be powered by lithium-ion battery packs, offering a choice of three, five, seven or nine packs to suit various driving range needs. Charging ports will accommodate popular connectors in the U.S. and Canada, with charging times ranging from one to 2.5 hours for DC fast charging and 5.5 to 10 hours for AC Level 2.

The optional advanced driver assistance system package on the N-Series EV includes automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning systems, full-range adaptive cruise control and other safety measures.

Hino: M5e and L6e
Availability: Early 2024
Range: TBD

At the 2023 Work Truck Week, Hino Trucks announced that in 2024, the company will release electric versions of their M and L Series medium-duty trucks – named the Me Series and the Le Series – powered by SEA Electric’s SEA-Drive system.

The Class 5 M5e (19,500-pound GVWR) cabover and Class 6 L6e (25,950-pound GVWR) conventional models will offer battery capacities of 138 kWh and 220 kWh, respectively.

Hino Trucks’ President Glenn Ellis stated that the collaboration with SEA Electric is a strategic move to provide powertrain options that meet customer needs across the U.S. Hino’s national dealer network is equipped for the shift to EVs, with high-voltage training from previous hybrid products.

To facilitate the EV transition, Hino is developing charging infrastructure through Hino INCLUSEV, an end-to-end EV enablement solution exclusively available through the company’s nationwide dealer network. INCLUSEV will offer consulting, sales, infrastructure, single-source financing, support and service to customers.

With Hino Edge telematics metrics and driver behavior data, the company has developed its strategy for initial EV vocational offerings, focusing on delivery and final mile applications.

Nikola: Tre BEV
Availability: Now
Range: Up to 330 miles

Nikola’s Tre BEV 6×2 offers up to 733 kWh of energy with an estimated 330 miles of range. The 13-foot-tall short-haul/regional BEV semi is based on an Iveco cabover chassis, featuring a 733-kWh battery pack and twin motors with 645 horsepower and 1,327 pound-feet of torque.

Although charging takes some time, with an 80% charge achievable in 90 minutes using a 350-kW DC charger, the company anticipates technology improvements will reduce this time.

The U.S. versions of the BEV are for day use, with European models including sleeping quarters. The truck’s interior features a 17-inch touchscreen, exceptional visibility and quiet operation. Nikola plans to deliver up to 350 Tre BEVs to dealers in 2023 and 125-150 Tre fuel-cell trucks in Q4.

The digital cockpit includes a wraparound dash and minimal mechanical controls. Drivers can access important information on the dash A-panel, while the 17-inch B-panel touchscreen allows them to control functions like headlights, climate control and radio. The Tre’s chassis houses nine modular battery packs, air disc brakes at all wheel positions, and a dampened air spring suspension for stability and comfort.

Nikola aims to offer a full sleeper cab for the long-haul fuel-cell version of the Tre.

Tesla: Semi
Availability: Now
Range: Up to 500 miles

PepsiCo recently unveiled a new fleet of 18 Tesla Semi trucks at its Sacramento, California, facility, one of the first metropolitan areas in the U.S. to integrate these electric trucks into operations. A Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District grant made the partnership with Tesla possible. PepsiCo said that a single Tesla Semi can travel 400 miles on a one-hour charge and reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 302 passenger cars annually. The company aims for a 75% reduction in emissions by 2030 and to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040.

Tesla’s Master Plan Part 3 describes two battery-size options for the Tesla Semi: Semi Light and Semi Heavy. Lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries will be used for standard-range vehicles, while higher energy-density batteries with high-nickel cathodes will be used for larger, longer-range vehicles like trucks and buses. The Semi Light will use a 500-kWh LFP battery pack, while the Semi Heavy will use an 800-kWh high-nickel battery.


Sean M. Lyden

Sean M. Lyden is the editor of Utility Fleet Professional magazine.