EV Startup Reveals Tesla Semi-Style Truck Design, Only Smaller
Watt Electric Vehicle Company plans eCV1 lineup of electric trucks and panel vans, based on its Passenger and Commercial EV Skateboard (PACES) architecture.
The planned trucks are set to be powered by 110-kWh batteries, which should give them an estimated range of 290 miles.
The EV startup plans an annual capacity of 5000 units annually, with a factory in the Midlands.
UK-based Watt Electric Vehicle Company took the wraps off its eCV1 concept this month, previewing a platform designed to underpin a variety of electric trucks and vans. The sleek concept, intended for 3.5-tonne panel vans and trucks, is slated to be based on WEVC's Passenger and Commercial EV Skateboard (PACES) architecture, which can support single or dual-motor layouts, depending on buyer needs.
The startup, launched in 2022, calls its PACES platform a "cell-to-chassis" system, denoting the use of a structural battery pack designed to minimize weight and increase chassis stiffness. The chassis itself is constructed using a method called FlexTech, which uses laser-cut and CNC-folded aluminum pieces that are bonded and interlocked, further decreasing overall weight.
The cabin of the eCV1 is surprisingly Tesla-like in design, down to the central seating position and use of cameras instead of mirrors. Designed to offer impressive visibility to the driver, the cab is also tall enough to stand in, lending itself well to panel van configurations.
When it comes to range, the concept is designed to be powered by a 110-kWh battery, which is promised to permit it to cover 290 miles between recharges, though the company hasn't indicated just which versions will be able to offer this rating.
"Our unique approach to addressing the challenges facing the industry enables the transition to mission-specific, yet cost-effective electric light commercial vehicles," said Neil Yates, Founder and CEO of Watt Electric Vehicles. "We have embraced circular economy principles in the design, manufacture, and operation of our commercial vehicles to specifically align with increasingly stringent corporate and fleet operator sustainability responsibilities."
WEVC says it plans to offer a capacity to build 5000 vehicles a year based on this platform, set to be manufactured in the UK. The company plans to begin assembly at a factory in the Midlands in the third quarter of this year.
By now there are quite a few electric van startups all aiming for this niche in the commercial vehicle market: Small and midsize delivery vans and trucks. WEVC, with a planned annual capacity in the mid-four figures, is not aiming to be Rivian or BrightDrop, with a model range aimed squarely at buyers in the UK and Europe seeking to beat larger automakers to the EV van game.
However, like Rivian and BrightDrop, WEVC is betting that commercial buyers will want a customized design engineered from scratch, rather than waiting for a wider lineup of mass-market electric vans and trucks to arrive from familiar automakers.
The startup is now approaching a crucial phase: a period of rapid cash burn in the months prior to the planned start of production.
"The industry is rapidly moving to a zero-emission future," Yates added. "Working with WEVC and our eCV1 platform will allow customers to benefit from electrified commercial vehicles tailored to exactly meet their needs."