The venerable Ford F59 chassis got an electric makeover last spring when the electric vehicle company Motiv Power Systems announced that it would use the versatile light-duty truck and bus platform on its off-the-shelf EV manufacturing system. Barely one year later, Motiv is already out with another new sustainability twist: repurposing truck bodies formerly used in gasmobiles to manufacture new EVs on the F59 chassis.
The “Frankenstein” EV Mashup
Instead of working from the ground up like Tesla Motors, Motiv has set out to create an affordable, cost-effective line of EVs primarily by drawing from other manufacturers for components other than the power train.
Motiv’s contribution is a patented all-electric power train and control system dubbed ePCS:
“The Motiv All-Electric Powertrain includes the Motiv electric Powertrain Control System (ePCS), batteries, motor, charger, heating, air conditioning and other components. It is installed via ship-through and requires minimal modification to the body and final vehicle design while maintaining performance. It includes universal charging compatibility and secure remote telematics and diagnostics.”
The company crossed into the CleanTechnica radar (and that of our sister site Gas2.org) in 2014 when it applied its all-electric power plan to an electric shuttle bus on the Ford F450 chassis, moving quickly along to electrify several trucks in the Chicago garbage-hauling fleet on a Crane Carrier chassis — a feat that earned the company a “Best of What’s New” award from Popular Science.
Last spring, the company shifted into high gear with the announcement of a funding to commercialize its power train and build a new EV production facility in California.
When Motiv selected the F59 for its Frankensteinesque EV manufacturing model, the company noted that the same chassis has proven its worth over many applications including vans that can be configured as delivery trucks and food trucks, among other uses. Given the company’s success with heavy-duty vehicles, it looks like the skip to lighter vehicles would be the next logical step.
Note to Frankenstein fans, admittedly the reference isn’t precise. Dr. Frankenstein patched together his monsters from previously owned body parts, not from newly manufactured components….
Electric Trucks For AmeriPride
Where were we? Oh, right. Last spring, Motiv also announced that the uniforms and linens company AmeriPride would be among the first customers for its new F59 line. That’s a natural matchup since AmeriPride is, well, proud of its sustainability and “green fleets” track record.
The initial announcement was for 6 electric walk-in step vans, but it looks like AmeriPride has already been inspired to do more, perhaps based on the performance of its first Motiv delivery van. In a press announcement today, AmeriPride disclosed that it would order a total of 10, transforming 20% of its fleet in Vernon, California, to electric drive. An AmeriPride representative had this to say:
“Our first truck has been running daily routes since it was delivered in November and has been running great, with zero service incidents or calls needed. Adding electric vehicles to our fleet complements our expanding alternative fuel program and we look forward to adding additional electric vehicles to our fleet in the coming year.”
AmeriPride expects about 80 miles of range from the new EVs, with a battery charge time of about 50% in 2½ hours.
In the same announcement, Motiv noted that the AmeriPride truck marks the first time ever that its electric powertrain has been applied a new F59 chassis and a previously used body.
The Vernon location was targeted for zero-emission EV action due to its poor air quality and the fleet was purchased with the help of a grant from the California Energy Commission, but it looks like green goodness won’t be the only selling point for Motiv after the rubber hits the road.
Motiv states that it has demonstrated a reduction in total operating costs of up to 87% for its trucks and buses compared to diesel trucks. If you’re thinking that the recent drop in gas (and diesel) costs could cut into that impressive figure, well, it could — but probably not by much.
A 2012 EV study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology indicates that a good deal of savings for electric truck fleets compared to diesel has to do with reducing maintenance and repair costs. The potential for making money back on vehicle-to-grid hookups can also factor into an overall plus for fleet owners.
Speaking Of Air Quality In Vernon, California…
A massive methane leak in the upscale community of Porter Ranch has drawn new attention to air pollution hotspots in California, and Vernon is one such place.
Back in 2013, a new air pollution mapping tool was introduced by the California Office Of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, which put Vernon in the unenviable top 3 spot for Southern California.
Since 2013, Vernon has also been in the news over both air and ground pollution related to negligent operations at a vehicle battery recycling plant. That’s somewhat ironic but not all that ironic. The batteries in question were lead-acid gasmobile batteries, not EV batteries.
All images via Motiv Power Systems.
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