This New Electric Truck Targets a Crucial Segment
GreenPower reveals EV Star Utility, featuring an aluminum stake bed and a 5740-pound payload.
The truck, aimed at construction, agriculture, delivery, and city services, is powered by a 118-kWh battery and offers a range of up to 150 miles.
The medium-duty truck segment has seen relatively few competitors, as BrightDrop, Rivian, and others have focused on slightly smaller last-mile delivery vans.
When it comes to battery-electric trucks, most of the focus has been on two opposite ends of the size spectrum: 18-wheeler semis, or lifestyle pickup trucks. But there are plenty of segments in between that neither Mercedes-Benz nor Rivian cover at the moment. And one of those segments just received a fresh contestant.
GreenPower, a Vancouver-based EV maker, has revealed the latest addition to its EV Star platform. Dubbed simply the EV Star Utility, the stake bed truck features a two-door cab, a payload of up to 5740 pounds, and a 14,300-pound gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). The truck, built by specialist manufacturer Lion Truck Body, features an aluminum stake bed and inverted aluminum "T" flooring that gives it a washable and watertight interior.
Powered by a relatively large 118-kWh battery, the truck promises a range of up to 150 miles on a full charge, in addition to 60-kW DC fast-charging. These trucks are meant to refuel overnight at their garages via dedicated chargers, so they'll rarely if ever visit public EV stations, or charging plazas meant for heavy-duty trucks that are yet to appear on any meaningful scale.
The Utility lands squarely in the medium-duty category—aimed at delivery businesses, construction companies, farms, and city services—and follows the debut of the EV Star Refrigerated Box Truck, serving a very important commercial niche. This is the truck segment we expect to see go electric sooner and on a wider scale than semis. Both versions of the truck are eligible for up to $40,000 in credits thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, the company points out.
"With the EV Star Utility, we set out to create an all-electric vehicle that would quickly solve the supply and demand problem for the electric medium- and heavy-duty vehicle market, which has traditionally been dominated by gas-guzzling, carbon-emitting vehicles," said Claus Tritt, vice president of medium-duty and commercial sales.
GreenPower is aiming for niches that neither BrightDrop nor Rivian have addressed to date, with Volta and Canoo only now starting to head in the same direction.
Two of the bigger questions about medium-duty trucks such as these are when we'll see cities and states begin to mandate ZEV trucks in this category in city centers, and when the running costs of electric trucks begin to challenge their diesel siblings. The latter issue is perhaps more pressing for smaller commercial customers, the ones that might buy one or three trucks of this type, rather than large companies currently testing last-mile EV trucks such as Walmart.
EV trucks of this category, it has been noted, will only begin to displace their diesel competitors when either legislation begins mandating them, or they begin to offer lower running costs with government incentives or without them.
Will we see meaningful numbers of commercial trucks in this segment go electric this decade, or will this process take longer? Let us know what you think.