J.B. Poindexter
Morgan Truck Body Polar Steed

J.B. Poindexter shows ‘next-gen’ commercial vehicles

May 8, 2023
‘Project Polar Steed’ is a fully electric, zero-emission refrigerated truck on a Morgan composite refrigerated body and electric-vehicle chassis

J.B. Poindexter & Co. (JBPCO) recently highlighted its next-generation vehicles and equipment, including the Morgan Truck Body NEO dry-freight body and the “Project Polar Steed” refrigerated body.

“The surging demand for electrification and alternative fuels in commercial trucking has been driven by multiple state-level mandates for zero emissions, escalating fuel prices, and a huge spike in e-commerce deliveries,” Mark Hope, general manager and COO for EAVX, the innovation hub within JBPCO, said in a news release. “The greater need for middle- and last-mile package, dry freight, and refrigerated delivery trucks has been a catalyst for innovation and the evolving projects we are working on across our business units.”

In response to the Governor’s Executive Order N-79-20 requiring strategies to achieve 100% zero-emissions from medium- and heavy-duty on-road vehicles in California by 2045, the California Air Resource Board (CARB) approved amendments to its current rule for transport refrigeration units (TRUs) operating in the state requiring actions designed to reduce the pollution the units produce and accelerate their transition to zero-emission technologies.

As industry leaders focused on customer solutions for the transition to zero-emission freight transportation, JBPCO business units are focusing on the newest technologies that will pave the way for next-generation EV truck bodies, vehicle strategies, and digital connectivity, the company said.

“Our theme, ‘Driving Innovation Together,’ underscores JBPCO’s commitment to collaboration between our business units, chassis partners, technology innovators, and customers,” Hope said.

Morgan, the largest manufacturer of light- and medium-duty freight and refrigerated van and truck bodies in North America, spotlighted its proof-of-concept NEO body during the 2023 Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in Anaheim, California. The vehicle, built on an International eMV Series chassis, represents the next step of Morgan’s product evolution to achieve extended range, improved aerodynamics, and a lighter-weight dry-freight body, JBPCO said.

NEO is the sequel to last year’s first-phase concept body that introduced lighter-weight materials and situational awareness elements, many of which now are available. Highlights include:

  • Lightweight aluminum sub-frame, nearly 40% lighter than standard sheet and post or FRP body, increases available payload
  • Improved aerodynamics and weight reduction help extend effective range
  • Enhanced safety with improved visibility, pedestrian protection, and distracted driver awareness
  • Powered rear overhead door with remote control and EAVX’s automated VX Control passive entry and exit

Project Polar Steed is a fully electric, zero-emission refrigerated solution on a Morgan composite refrigerated body and an EV chassis provided by Pritchard Electric. The lightweight structure with insulated foam core wall panels positions Polar Steed at the forefront of sustainable refrigeration, JBPCO said. Composite materials and aluminum, incorporated in lieu of wood and steel, provide improved durability, longevity, and corrosion resistance.

  • Lighter weight than standard refrigerated bodies, which helps increase payload availability
  • Front-mounted All-Electric TRU provided by Volta Air helps reduce carbon emissions and is California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved

Morgan Olson, a leading producer of walk-in step vans, boasts the Proxima Class 2B, a fully electric last-mile delivery vehicle. The 2B offers a smaller format for maneuverability and frequent stops, designed for below 10,000 lbs. GVWR, the company sid. Designed with optimal aerodynamics, it delivers a 40% reduction in drag.

  • Best-in-class floor height with two-step entry
  • Designed for EV chassis, with improved aerodynamics and driver comfort features
  • Integrated VX Control to provide vehicle automation tasks

The Reading Truck Group is working on Project ZEVx, a concept vehicle developed with EAVX and ZEVx electrification solutions that features a Reading Truck body. The Reading Truck service body can be integrated onto all platforms including EV, repowered EVs, and internal combustion engines, providing an opportunity to incorporate new technology within aging fleets.

“The business units within JBPCO remain dedicated to developing the most sophisticated solutions, innovative features and technological advancements that are helping commercial fleets transition to a sustainable future that benefits consumers, drivers, the industry, and the environment,” Hope said.

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