When the winners of the advanced battery and electric drive sweepstakes were announced President Obama had occasion to give something of a congratulatory speech that included as a backdrop for the address, a familiar-looking truck with a Navistar logo plastered across the side. This, along with the mention of a $39.2 million award used to "develop, validate, and deploy 400 advanced battery electric delivery trucks (12,100 lbs. gross vehicle weight) with a 100-mile range," was proof that something was cooking between British electric truck builder Modec and Navistar. The soupe de surprise is still simmering on the stove but when it's done we expect to be served by the two heavy-duty vehicle chefs a meaty meal of a joint venture that will see Navistar-branded electric trucks being assembled in Indiana for the North, Central and South American markets.
Although final details won't be released until the JV-deal is completed, two press releases state that the firms intend to build several thousand trucks each year after the initial run of 400 in 2010. The plant, which Navistar picked up when it bought a bankrupt RV maker, should supply the Elkhart area with as many as 700 badly-needed jobs over the next year. No word yet on how much of the truck will originate from England or who will supply the batteries but we're told a final announcement should be made soon. Hit the jump for press releases from both companies as well as video of the presidential appearance.