WASHINGTON - Members of Congress were shown an early result of federal stimulus investments paying dividends - an all-electric commercial truck from Navistar, Inc. that does not depend on foreign oil, is already generating jobs, and offers real potential to usher in a new wave of U.S.-led clean vehicle technologies.
With the help of a $39 million U.S. Department of Energy grant announced by President Obama in August, Navistar will build these high technology trucks, designed for maximum efficiency in urban environments. Navistar intends to build 400 all-electric delivery trucks in 2010 at its facility in Elkhart County, Indiana, and expects within a few years to be producing several thousand vehicles annually as the market grows.
"At a time when the economy is struggling, supporting breakthrough technologies like Navistar's all-electric truck will create jobs for our state and help free us from our dependency on energy imports," said Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN). "I was proud to accompany President Obama to Wakarusa, Indiana, in August to announce the federal commitment to build this all-electric vehicle in Elkhart County. Indiana continues to be a leader in the development and production of advanced technologies that will provide important benefits to the entire nation. Hoosiers have been at the epicenter of today's automotive industry, and this technology gives us an opportunity to be at the forefront of tomorrow's as well."
The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed legislation allowing for a program of research, development, and commercial application of clean vehicle technologies at DOE (H.R. 3246, Advanced Vehicle Technology Act of 2009). The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
The collaboration between Navistar and DOE demonstrates the importance of business and government working together to make energy efficient vehicles a reality, and the continued need for research and development of advanced commercial vehicle technologies.
"The all-electric commercial truck is a concrete example of advanced technology that will be swiftly brought to market with government incentives, just like diesel-hybrid trucks and school buses," said Greg Elliott, senior vice president, Navistar. "We must continue to invest together for the next generation of advanced vehicles with innovative aerodynamic design and greater hybrid and electric market penetration across the nation."
This zero tailpipe emission electric commercial truck is the latest of Navistar's green vehicle advancements. The company was an early pioneer in diesel hybrids with the International DuraStar truck and the IC Bus CE Series plug-in hybrid school bus.
The all-electric vehicle would primarily be used by fleets in congested, urban, light duty applications where stop-and-go driving would otherwise consume a large amount of fuel.