If there’s a better idea zapping through the universal ethers than electrification of commercial fleet vans, I don’t know what it might be. Delivery vehicles — whether USPS vans or commercial delivery vans — often meander down the same limited-range, precise path day-after-day. The benefits of commercial van electrification to U.S. customers could be enormous since the rising cost of gas and the continual maintenance of the rascally internal combustion engine need not be factored into the final cost of goods delivered.
Although the corporate image of Tesla Motors does not normally evoke misty thoughts of lumbering step vans, Tesla Motors is soon to branch out by providing lithium ion battery packs for Freightliner vans that will boast Tesla DNA. Having already given birth to a signature, sexy, spaceship of a sports car that acclerates at the speed of a lightning strike, Tesla Motors is also moving in an utterly different direction to the more practical, mundane side of the automotive aisle.
According to Gas 2.0, The Freightliner electric vans will use three 18.5 kWh Tesla battery packs which will result in an impressive 100-plus mile range — depending on load and how many battery packs an individual vehicle may contain. The vans will range in weight from 14,000 to 19,000 pounds. I am, of course, talking about carrying capacity and real-world range here so best to erase any lingering notion of e-ticket speed evoked by the very word Tesla. The batteries will integrate a strong regenerative braking phase to improve range and extend brake life.
The sturdy Freightliner frame will support up to five Tesla packs for even more range; not necessarily in style, but certainly in dependable fashion, with roll-out beginning in the first quarter of 2011.
Posted by Linda Nicholes
Photo courtesy of Green Car Congress