Mack’s Electric Truck Could Be a Fleet Game-Changer
Mack Trucks has revealed its first electric model in the medium-duty segment, with the MD Electric positioned as an alternative to its diesel-powered version.
The Mack MD Electric will be offered with a choice of two battery options, 150-kWh or 240-kWh, giving it a range of 140 to 230 miles.
Several truck makers, including Isuzu and Hino, are about to begin producing medium-duty electric trucks as demand from fleets rises.
Mack Trucks took the wraps off its first medium-duty electric truck, engineered as a companion to its diesel MD model sibling. The MD Electric will be the truck maker's second overall EV offering, following the debut of the Mack LR Electric garbage truck in 2021.
The MD Electric will be offered with a choice of two nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) lithium-ion batteries, in 150- or 240-kWh capacities, powering a single motor out back good for 260 hp and 1850 lb-ft of torque. And just like passenger EVs, it will feature regenerative braking.
The smaller battery will give the truck a range of 140 miles, while the larger pack will enable it to cover about 230 miles, making both models quite suitable for regional trucking and local deliveries. That's because medium-duty fleet trucks usually have a set route, making mileage easy to plan, and they can recharge at night at their home bases with their own infrastructure. In the case of the MD Electric, it will offer AC and DC charging, with the 240-kWh option estimated to take just a little under three hours to recharge.
"Building on the success of the diesel-powered Mack MD Series, the Mack MD Electric will help our customers meet their sustainability goals without sacrificing the durability, reliability and total cost of ownership for which Mack is known," said Jonathan Randall, president of Mack Trucks North America.
Slated to be produced at the company's Roanoke Valley Operations (RVO) in Roanoke Valley, Virginia, the MD Electric will be offered in 4x2 configuration, and will be aimed at daily cargo routes rather than long-distance trucking. Class 6 and Class 7 trucks of its type, featuring Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings of 25,995 pounds and 33,000 pounds, respectively, are often used by fleets for wholesale food deliveries to smaller stores and restaurants.
Mack's MD Electric lands in a busy segment that has not seen a lot of interest from EV startups, which have largely focused on smaller truck categories aimed at last-mile delivery. But that's about to change.
"This is another important step in our efforts to drive decarbonization and a more sustainable future, and we plan to continue investing in technologies that help improve the environment and society," said Martin Weissburg, global president of Mack Trucks.
The National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA) 2023 Work Truck Show that served as the debut venue for the Mack model also saw medium-duty electric truck announcements from Japan's Hino and Isuzu—both big players in this segment. Toyota unit Hino revealed Class 5 and Class 6 trucks due in 2024, while Isuzu revealed plans for its N-Series Class 5 model due the same year.
So Mack won't be alone in this segment when production starts.
Isuzu Commercial Truck of America president Shaun C. Skinner cited the upcoming regulatory landscape in driving the future demand for medium-duty electric trucks—a category that has been predominantly diesel for decades. Municipalities in western Europe are already taking steps to ban diesel-powered trucks from city centers, making their days numbered, and a number of US states are exploring options to do the same.
Will we see medium-duty trucks begin to shift to electric power in the second half of the decade, or will this process take longer, as it did with EVs? Let us know your thoughts.