After hooking up with Enova Systems for an electric drivetrain and with Tesla Motors for a battery pack, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) has now teamed with Morgan Olson to create an appropriate walk-in van (WIV) body to wrap the entire package in. Dubbed the MT-EV, the new clean sheet design puts an emphasis on aerodynamics and driver comfort.

Forgoing the typical sheet metal and rivets, the companies opted for a lightweight composite construction that they say is completely recyclable. Underneath, it retains the steel straight-rail frame that allows it to boast a GVWR of 14,000 to 19,500 lbs. Serious stuff.

Befitting its 100-mile range, the MT-EV is specifically designed for the urban environment with a curb-side exit and walk-through cargo area accessible from the cab. The automotive-grade interior has lots of electric-relevant instrumentation and also features a "messaging center" that gives you fault codes and maintenance notifications. Contrary to what the press release claims, we doubt it offers information about "the life of the engine, transmission, oil and filters." Yes, that's what it says, and you can read it for yourself after the break where it's accompanied by video of its official unveiling at the recent National Conference of the Hybrid Truck Users Forum (HTUF).

[Source: Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation via Green Car Congress]


Press Release


Next Generation Vehicle for FCCC All-Electric Walk-In Van Introduced at 2010 Hybrid Truck Users Forum


DEARBORN, Mich. – Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) and Morgan Olson LLC launched the next generation vehicle with new exterior and interior body styling for its successful all-electric walk-in van (WIV). The MT-EV WIV boasts a lightweight, aerodynamic design for improved efficiency. Conceived and developed with a contemporary fresh automotive approach, the vehicle maintains the hardworking heritage customers expect while ultimately contributing to the bottom line.



FCCC first introduced its plug-in, all-electric WIV chassis, the only one domestically engineered and the first in the industry to be completely all electric in North America, earlier this year. Following that launch and continuing in its legacy of designing alternative fuel products, FCCC partnered with Morgan Olson to develop a ground-breaking body style to provide further benefits to the delivery van owner, as well as the driver.



Introduced at the Hybrid Truck Users Forum (HTUF), the All-Electric New Generation Delivery Van was engineered with the fleet owner and driver in mind. Built of lightweight, durable composites that are completely recyclable, the interior of the cab features an automotive-style interior, maximizing driver comfort and productivity.



"The partnership to develop the MT-EV WIV new body styling with Morgan Olson was a natural progression for the all-electric vehicle," said Jonathan Randall, director of sales and marketing for FCCC. "The new design was engineered to allow for improved aerodynamics without giving up the functionality of the vehicle. The MT-EV remains a rugged, productive work tool that also maintains maximum cargo capacity."



Reliable, Durable Work Tool

The MT-EV chassis boasts a GVWR of 14,000 to 19,500 lbs. The durable steel straight-rail chassis frame reduces flex and bowing to minimize stress while carrying heavy payloads. The quiet operation of the all-electric MT-EV also makes for an enjoyable driver experience. The MT-EV has a flat-leaf spring front and rear suspension, allowing for a smooth, solid ride that minimizes cargo shifts on uneven road surfaces.



"By partnering with Morgan Olson, we have effectively developed the MT-EV WIV to meet performance, as well as environmental needs of our delivery vehicle customers," Randall said.



"The vehicle development process with Freightliner Custom Chassis has been fantastic," said Steve Miller, vice president of sales and marketing for Morgan Olson. "Both companies started with a clean sheet of paper and very strong ideas about the statement the new WIV should make. In addition to building a highly efficient delivery van with a distinctive new look, we have designed a vehicle that makes a powerful environmental statement. It allows our customers to show their commitment to the environment while maximizing driver productivity."



The MT-EV WIV has a one-piece bonded windshield allowing for outstanding visibility. Taking into account wind flow over the hood and cab, the headlamps and mirrors of the body were designed to be aerodynamic, further improving upon the vehicle's efficiency.



The instrumentation panel within the cab incorporates automotive styling and adds additional features that constantly monitor the EV operating system to provide the driver information, such as the battery state of charge data. Also, the vehicle performance gauge is included to assist the driver in the operation of the vehicle.



The full-feature gauge and informational display includes a larger messaging center display area, prognostic information and is completely sealed, fully protecting it from dust and water projected from backsplash. The larger messaging center display area enables easier reading of fault codes and maintenance notifications. Rather than relying on predetermined maintenance schedules, the incorporation of prognostic information provides the driver critical up-to-the-minute maintenance information, such as the life of the engine, transmission, oil and filters.



The all-electric chassis is specifically designed for the urban delivery vehicle market in which it can provide the greatest operating and environmental benefit. Additionally, the Morgan Olson MT-EV WIV body provides additional safety to drivers, with features such as a curbside exit, walk-through cargo area and direct access to the cargo area from the driver's station.



The all-electric chassis also was initiated before stimulus money and federal grants were available for alternative-fuel transportation projects.



Created for Zero Tailpipe Emissions

The MT-EV all-electric chassis utilizes Enova Systems' 120kW all-electric drive system technology. Enova Systems is a leading developer and producer of electric and hybrid-electric drive system technologies for commercial vehicle OEMs. Powered by Tesla Motors' lithium-ion batteries, the chassis is 100 percent electric, including its HVAC system, making it the only fully featured WIV chassis in the industry to be completely electrically powered. FCCC is the first company within the industry to utilize Tesla batteries for commercial applications.



"We are pleased with the continued progress of our work with FCCC," said Enova CEO and President Mike Staran. "Our partnership further demonstrates that the appetite for these products is growing. Enova has continued to aggressively pursue new technologies, partnerships and opportunities to expand the clean vehicle market. Our strategies are generating reliable sales growth, strong market position and continued demand for our technology."



The all-electric drive system features battery packs that provide up to a 100-mile driving range on a single charge, making it ideal for pickup and delivery applications. The battery pack will charge from fully depleted to fully charged in six to eight hours. In addition, the vehicle charging system is incorporated into the overall operating system so no exterior devices are required to charge the truck.



The batteries featured on the electric system capture and store energy during the regenerative braking phase of the vehicle's operation. The regenerative braking system reduces friction during braking, resulting in less brake wear and extended brake life. The regenerative braking system saves energy by recycling and storing it, which can then be reused to propel the vehicle instead of losing it to heat, as is the case with traditional brakes.



Legacy of Engineering Alternative-Fuel Technologies

FCCC and its parent company, Daimler Trucks North America LLC (DTNA), maintain a legacy of providing innovative technologies that benefit customers and the environment. FCCC's commitment to green technologies is in line with Daimler AG's global initiative called "Shaping Future Transportation." Launched in Stuttgart, Germany, by Daimler in 2007, the initiative is focused on reducing category emissions pollutants, carbon dioxide and fuel consumption.



In August 2008, Daimler announced the opening of the Global Hybrid Center at Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation in Kawasaki, Japan. The center is the worldwide hub for Daimler's hybrid development.



Along with the all-electric chassis, FCCC has extensive experience manufacturing compressed natural gas (CNG) WIV chassis, currently manufactures hybrid-electric vehicle (HEV) chassis, and will offer full production of the hydraulic hybrid vehicle (HHV) chassis in Q1 2011 for the walk-in van market segment. These alternative-power vehicles have proven to offer significant fuel savings benefits.



FCCC also designs and manufactures alternative-fuel chassis for the commercial bus and motorhome market segments. In 2008, FCCC introduced ecoFRED™, the motorhome industry's first hybrid-electric chassis, and the FCCC MB-HEV hybrid-electric commercial bus chassis in response to a growing customer demand for alternative-fuel power that provides the same excellent performance and durability as FCCC's premium diesel-powered chassis. At the 2009 NTEA Work Truck Show, FCCC introduced its HHV chassis to the commercial vehicle industry.



The HTUF conference takes place Sept. 28-30, in Dearborn, Mich. HTUF is the nation's leading program driving production and use of medium- and heavy-duty hybrid and high-efficiency trucks and buses. It was founded by CALSTART and the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center's National Automotive Center (NAC). www.htuf.org



Morgan Olson, LLC builds walk-in van bodies, parcel van bodies, and dry freight van bodies for the package delivery, baking, textile rental and industrial service markets. Morgan Olson is a subsidiary of J.B. Poindexter & Company, a Houston-based holding company.



Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation manufactures premium chassis for the motorhome, delivery walk-in van, and school bus and shuttle bus markets. Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, a Daimler company.






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