eStar to Run on A123 Battery System

· · 10 years ago

The eStar fully-electric van, which entered production at a Navistar plant in Wakarusa, Ind., last month, will be powered by an A123 Systems battery. A123 was founded in Massachusetts nearly a decade ago, utilizing a nanophosphate lithium ion technology that was developed at M.I.T. The company produces a variety of batteries for a number of companies and has partnered with major carmakers like GM, THINK and Chrysler to develop electric platforms for vehicles.

When Navistar announced a partnership with the UK-based Modec to bring the eStar electric van to market in the United States, it signified the birth of the first electric class 2C-3 van to be sold in North America. The vehicle is based on the Modec zero-emissions delivery van, which has already been deployed in Britain by companies like Tesco and UPS. Navistar will sell the eStar for about $150,000 in the United States.

The first production eStar was delivered to FedEx at a ceremony last month. Navistar expects to produce about 400 of the vehicles by the end of this year, thanks in part to a $39 million grant from the Department of Energy.

Though the Ford Transit Connect Electric has received a lot of acclaim for being the first mass-produced electric fleet van to make it to market in the United States, its measurables pale in comparison to the pure delivery power of the eStar. The Transit Connect has a curb weight of just under 4,000 pounds and a 1,000-pound payload, while the eStar weighs in at 12,100 pounds and delivers a payload of about 4,000 pounds.

Both vehicles will have their uses, but it's nice to know that fleets requiring a little more hauling power will have an electric option available to them soon.

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