Scott Achelpohl | FleetOwner
Workhorse unveiled for a 'first look' its Classes 5-6 W56 all-electric delivery and work van, which has a range of up to 150 miles and a 1,000-cubic-foot cargo box, CEO Rick Dauch said.

Electrification reveals light up Work Truck Week again

March 14, 2023
Workhorse, Lightning eMotors, FCCC, Motiv with fleet partner Giant Food, Safe Fleet, Lincoln Electric, EnviroCharge, and the new Ram 1500 Revolution—all exhibited at the show in Indy and made a splash.

Attendees returned to NTEA’s Work Truck Week on March 8 to more electric vehicle reveals and equipment, parts, and add-on innovations that made news throughout the three days that the show floor was open.

In addition to the attention-getting debuts from Mack Trucks, which unveiled a medium-duty electric tractor, and Isuzu, which announced its first-ever EV as part of its N-5 line of lighter trucks, other OEMs and suppliers made news in Indianapolis.

Among them was EV-maker Workhorse’s “first look” at its all-electric W56 delivery and work van; Motiv's display with Washington, D.C.-area grocery delivery partner Giant Food and its ride-and-drive area presence; Lightning eMotors displays; sales news for the FCCC MT50e; Safe Fleet's three product unveils; and a multifunction engine drive from leading power supply provider Lincoln Electric.

The flashy Ram Revolution also took center stage—literally—here. However, the electric pickup concept vehicle already had made a splash at the Consumer Electronics Show in January in Las Vegas and even during the Super Bowl in mid-February.

See also: More NTEA Work Truck Week coverage from Indy

Workhorse

The startup EV company conducted a March 8 unveiling of the Classes 5-6 W56 EV, which has a range of up to 150 miles and a 1,000-cubic-foot cargo box, Workhorse CEO Rick Dauch said, adding during a press event he hosted that the EV company has “the capital to make the journey” and “15 to 20 times the revenue this year over last year,” meaning Workhorse has the funding streams to push along the W56 from its Union City, Indiana, factory, where regular production of the W56 is expected to begin in third-quarter 2023 after orders open in May and once customers in the coming weeks receive demonstration W56s.

The company has struggled financially. In 2021, it had to iron out problems with its all-electric C-1000 van, which Workhorse announced earlier this year it was discontinuing. Workhorse is producing the W4 CC now after some delays and is manufacturing its W750 in addition to the W56. Earlier this month, Workhorse and GreenPower Motor Co. of Canada announced a multiyear deal to jointly make medium-duty Class 4 step vans for the North American market. Under the terms of that deal, GreenPower will deliver 1,500 EV Star cabs and chassis to be used in the production of the W750.

The W56 will be available in several work-truck configurations tailored to meet various business applications, a company release ahead of the Work Truck Week unveiling said. The zero-emission delivery van has a payload capacity of up to around 10,000 lb. with lowered step-in and wide cabin door for easier entry and exit, according to the release. Built with the delivery driver in mind, the cabin has been ergonomically designed, providing safety and comfort during long shifts.

“The W56 marks the first official vehicle designed and produced under our revamped team and is the culmination of many hours of hard work combined with process enhancements implemented over the past 18 months,” Dauch said via his company's release.

“This vehicle incorporates the extensive on-road learnings of our legacy vehicles and improves upon those models with a new custom-designed chassis, demonstrating the caliber of trucks that we will produce for years to come. As we complete the final steps in our transition from a technology startup to a pioneering commercial EV OEM, we look forward to starting production and making initial deliveries later this year.”

FCCC

In the largest single sale since the MT50e made its market debut last fall, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC) reported 10 of its all-electric walk-in vans are going to Pacific Gas & Electric (No 49 on the 2022 FleetOwner 500: Private list).

PG&E (the 2022 FleetOwner Private Fleet of the Year) will utilize the MT50e units as mobile workstations in the San Francisco Bay area later this year, supporting its underground cable-splicing operations. The purchase is a “key step” in helping PG&E meet its mandate to convert as many fleet vehicles as possible to zero-emission vehicles by 2025, FCCC stated.

“From their earliest introduction to the MT50e, the PG&E team saw the value in a product offering the advantages of all-electric and the robust productivity and renowned reputation of the MT chassis,” said Mike Stark, EV program manager for FCCC. “They were immediately impressed with the product, and we’re excited for it to start making a positive impact on their fleet capabilities right away.”

See also: Can EV enthusiasm spark FET repeal?

Powered by an exclusive battery system from Proterra, the MT50e features a GVWR of up to 19,000 lbs., a range of up to 170 miles on a single charge, and an integrated design with no reduction in cargo capacity. In addition to its being 50-state EPA and CARB certified, additional features and highlights of the MT50e include:

  • Engine power of up to 226 kWh=303 HP
  • Full battery charge in 3 hours
  • 8-year standard warranty
  • Hill-start assist
  • Single-piece steel straight frame rails and rugged dogbone cross members to minimize body stress while maximizing heavy-duty load capacity
  • 50-degree wheel cut for tighter turn radius and unmatched maneuverability
  • Traction and stability control
  • Premium 4-wheel hydraulic disc brakes
  • Nationwide access to the Detroit eFill charging network

“PG&E is excited to partner with FCCC by adding their MT50e to our medium-duty Electric Vehicle portfolio. The all-electric MT50e is a versatile OEM solution for our walk-in van applications and will advance PG&E one step closer to achieving our medium-duty fleet-electrification goals,” said Michael Glover, transportation senior director for PG&E. “PG&E’s MT50es are anticipated to be deployed in early 2023 within the greater San Francisco Bay Area.”

The MT50e also optimizes driver safety and ease of operation through its standard OptiView fully integrated all-digital gauge display and DriveTech driver controls, according to FCCC. DriveTech puts every command in one easy-to-reach location, while OptiView provides real-time efficiency feedback and state-of-the-art tools like 360-degree cameras and clear navigation.

Motiv Power Systems

Silicon Valley’s Motiv Power Systems had its founder and chief technology officer, Jim Castelaz, and CEO Tim Krauskopf on station in Indy, camped beneath one of the two actual Motiv medium-duty Class 6 electric step vans deployed by Giant Food in the grocer’s Washington, D.C., suburban Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware markets for its Giant Delivers service, which is based out of Hanover, Maryland.

The Class 6 electric van has logged about 10,000 miles making deliveries and is one of two EVs among Giant’s fleet of 128 vehicles. A bit unique in its class, Castelaz and Krauskopf said, in that with its “over 2-tons niche,” it has the capacity and chassis power to manage the multitudes of different items that Giant delivers, from eggs to gallons of milk to bundles of toilet paper. The electric vehicles were funded in part by the Maryland Energy Administration.

See also: At alt-truck summit, ‘infrastructure’ the keyword

Range is always a top-line number for EVs. This Motiv electric goes 105 miles on a full charge, but delivery driver Garren Bailey pushed the vehicle to 135 miles using the EV’s regenerative braking and other techniques, the executives and Bailey related to FleetOwner during a brief interview at Motiv's show booth. Another of Motiv's electric step vans was available in the Work Truck Week ride-and-drive area.

Foster City, California-based Motiv—founded in 2009 and delivering Classes 4-6 electric step vans and electrified chassis for delivery carriers, refuse operations, and even school-bus operators for more than a decade—had more news to announce as Work Truck Week got underway: Expansion of its partnership with Purolator, the Canadian freight, package, and logistics solutions provider, to provide 55 delivery EVs for deployment this year in Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec. Purolator rolled out five Motiv-powered electric trucks in 2021.

“Our partnership with Purolator has not only driven quantifiable operational and maintenance cost savings but has also provided their drivers with a healthier and more comfortable driving experience,” Krauskopf said in a release announcing the Purolator deal. “The drivers are proud to be the first of their kind—providing service to all of the people and businesses on their routes in electric, quiet, non-polluting trucks. They now represent part of the solution to the climate crisis.”

Ram 1500 REV

There it was, Ram’s first battery-electric light-duty pickup, fresh off CES in Vegas in January and its TV commercial debut during Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12.

Work Truck Week attendees couldn’t miss it. The EV pickup (Ram exhibited the Revolution concept vehicle in Indy) held center stage at the OEM’s booth at the show, where Brand CEO Mike Koval presented the futuristic pickup.

“Everything Ram delivers will be a direct descendant of the Ram Revolution,” Koval said, touting the OEM’s Dare Forward strategic plan to deliver clean and affordable mobility solutions. “Ram Revolution 1500 points the way we are going with the brand—forward.

See also: Electric truck production expected to triple in 2023

Unusual and eye-popping features of the pickup: bidirectional charging; 18 feet of cargo space from a back bed that extends instantly, through the cab itself, to the frunk up front; a projector for presentations during the work day or movie night after hours; and an autonomous feature where the truck can follow behind when its driver is outside walking on a job site. The REV’s "frunk" offers access to onboard power and weatherproof cargo space. The electric pickup includes a dashboard touchscreen that can display information, including charging status. The REV also retains the brand’s segment-exclusive RamBox side cargo-management system.

Lightning eMotors

Lightning eMotors had its ZEV3 electric cargo van available for driving or riding at Work Truck Week 2023 and a cutaway of its ZEV4, a collaboration with General Motors, on display at the Lightning booth on the show floor.

Lightning is working to become the first GM Specialty Vehicle Manufacturer to provide fully electric Classes 3-6 commercial vehicles on its platforms, according to a company release. The platform accommodates delivery trucks, work trucks, and other uses such as school and shuttle buses.

The company also has gained access to new federal funding through Altoona Testing and Buy America Certifications, making it easier and more affordable for companies and organizations to electrify their fleets. Transport Canada certification also unlocked additional funding opportunities in Canada.

See also: A framework for choosing powertrains in the 'messy middle'

Lightning eMotors also touted services such as Lightning Insights, real-time, EV-specific fleet telematics; Fleet Planner, an EV recommendation and pricing tool; Lightning Energy products such as Lightning Mobile, a portable DC fast charger; and the company’s wireless charging collaboration with HEVO.

The Loveland, Colorado-based company has provided specialized and sustainable fleet solutions since 2009, deploying zero-emission-vehicle (hence ZEV) solutions for commercial fleets since 2018. It has deployed to several vehicle classes, including Classes 3-4 cargo vans, Class 6 work trucks, and Class 7 city buses.

Safe Fleet

Belton, Missouri-based safety solutions provider Safe Fleet used a media event in its exhibit area on the show floor to unveil three new marketplace entries:

  • MobileMule AI: Safe Fleet’s new AI-powered dual dashcam detects driver drowsiness, sleeping, no seat belt usage, distracted driving, and cellphone usage and issues real-time alerts before uploading that information to the cloud, while a road-facing camera records real-time alerts. Facial recognition software identifies drivers and tags them to their routes/vehicles, and its real-time alerts and driver scoring capabilities support training, productivity, and safe-driving initiatives. It also alerts drivers to sudden braking, excessive acceleration, and harsh cornering as all events are recorded and uploaded to the cloud, and it features an easily accessible panic button.
  • Air Vue: The company’s advanced wireless video transmitter technology for the rear of semi-trailers enables camera plus monitor coupling via the vehicle’s electrical system. Its wireless signal strength ensures up to 300 feet of coverage, and its trailer swap capability provides easy transfer from trailer to trailer with effortless pairing.
  • FoldPro Shelving: This solution is available for Transit, Sprinter, and Promaster vehicles and box trucks and features one-hand operation with a dependable latch mechanism that holds each shelf securely in place, whether open or closed.

“As part of our mission to make fleets smarter and people safer, we are thrilled to introduce and demo these innovations,” Safe Fleet President Mike Schulte said in a show release. “These best-in-class brands in video safety and last mile shelving advance drivers’ productivity and, most importantly, increase their safety.”

Lincoln Electric

Lincoln Electric introduced the all-new RangerAir260MPX multifunction engine drive at Work Truck Week. This machine was designed specifically for the work truck industry, where the unexpected can be expected on any given day. Available later this year, this is designed to prepare operators for whatever unpredictable circumstances and job demands come their way.

The Ranger Air 260MPX is an air compressor, generator, battery charger, battery jump assist, and multi-process welder all in one. The unit eliminates the need to carry numerous pieces of power equipment on a service truck. The result is a lighter payload and more space on the truck for other tools and gear, according to the company.

Lincoln Electric said the Ranger Air 260MPX engine drive delivers industry-leading performance across the board in air compressor capabilities, clean auxiliary power, and welding arc performance:

  • The Vanaircompressor delivers 40 cfm at 150 psi. With up to 30% more air than other machines in its class, operators can inflate tires faster and power anything up to a 1-inch impact wrench.
  • The 26.5-hp KohlerElectronic Throttle Body Engine delivers 10 kW of continuous AC generator power to accommodate a variety of tools and equipment.
  • Lincoln Electric's weldiElectric'strol technology is built directly into the Ranger Air 260MPX to help deliver a stable reliable arc. These include Ready.Set.Weld and ArcFX technology.
About the Author

Scott Achelpohl | Managing Editor

I'm back to the trucking and transportation track of my career after some time away freelancing and working to cover the branches of the U.S. military, specifically the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Coast Guard. I'm a graduate of the University of Kansas and the William Allen White School of Journalism there with several years of experience inside and outside business-to-business journalism. I'm a wordsmith by nature, and I edit FleetOwner magazine and our website as well as report and write all kinds of news that affects trucking and transportation.

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