Penske has been putting electric trucks through their paces at an impressive speed. The rental and leasing giant has also been inking partnerships and installing charging infrastructure at an equally impressive clip. So it came as no surprise to hear that Penske, as a validation partner, would add five International eMV electric trucks to its battery-powered rolling arsenal. The real question was: After a year of running electric trucks–from Class 8 to box trucks–what do they hope to see from the new electric truck entrant now that they have some experience under their belts?
“We are looking to understand performance at many mile markers, so this will be an ongoing evaluation,” explained Paul Rosa, senior vice president of procurement and fleet planning, Penske Truck Leasing. “Miles on the road are very important for sure, but I haven’t thought of a specific tollgate. There are many areas to monitor and understand, beyond the miles traveled. What’s exciting is that we are still running and evaluating other medium-duty units, providing more and more miles to our dataset.”
A quick refresher on Navistar’s International eMV capabilities: The eMV’s battery electric motor provides peak power of over 335 HP, or 250 kilowatts, with continuous power of 215 HP or 160 kW, and it has a 210kW capacity high voltage battery that provides a 135-mile range when fully charged.
As you can guess, the routes Penske will run with the eMV will be short, as well as plentiful.
“The units will rotate through a number of different applications: short routes, routes pushing the technology’s capabilities, and others in between. There will be full payload applications, diminishing loads, as well as light loads,” Rosa noted. “Both the range and payload combinations will operate across many topographies. This approach will continue our learnings and complement what we already understand.”
Certainly Penske has one of the widest understandings of electric truck commercial applications, and when asked about the similarities and differences between OEM nameplates on the electric truck playing field, Rosa said: “This is a question that needs pages to answer.”
(Editor’s note: We’re working on that.)
“Commonalities are that EV technology is performing early, but will it have longevity and durability over time?” Rosa continued. “Drivers love them and don’t want to give them up, but adoption slows due to so many limitations: spec, range and cost limitations, infrastructure timelines and other challenges.”
Charging is always a question mark early on, especially with potential differences in charging equipment and software, but Rosa noted that the International eMV will utilize existing and soon-to-come Penske charging infrastructure.
Navistar’s deployment of the International eMV will be a learning process for the OEM as well.
“As Penske grows with us in this electrification journey, our team will continue to work with the Penske team regarding future tools and training necessary to ensure long-term operational success of these vehicles,” said Kyle Maki, EV field service manager, Navistar.
Once delivered, a local International dealer will handle the service and support of the vehicle. Additionally, Navistar will provide the following guidance and training to the Penske team:
• Vehicle service training, including safety precautions necessary when working with high voltage, and how the vehicle can be integrated into other repair processes. Additionally, we’ll provide an overview of how to conduct a lock out/tag out procedure before completing service of an electric vehicle.
• Driver training, including how to efficiently drive the vehicle, how to appropriately use regenerative braking and what to do if an accident occurs, including a vehicle tow.
• Charger training, including the meaning of the charging indicator lights which are located near the vehicle’s charging port, and what to do if a charger fault occurs.