Mack Trucks showcases its MD electric truck in California
Mack Trucks MD Electric, the company’s second battery electric vehicle. (Kieron Greenhalgh/Transport Topics)
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Sonoma, Calif. – Mack Trucks showcased its MD medium-duty electric truck from October 30 through November 1 at Sonoma Raceway.
The MD Electric is Mack Trucks’ second battery-electric vehicle. The first was the LR Electric garbage truck, which was unveiled in March 2022.
Mack Trucks introduced the MD Electric truck in March 2023. Its diesel-powered MD sibling was introduced in 2020, after Mack Trucks had been absent from the medium-duty market for nearly two decades.
Swedish Volvo Group, the parent company of Mack Trucks, wants 35% of vehicles rolling off its global production lines to be electric by 2030. The Volvo Group expects 100% of vehicles rolling off the production line to be fossil fuel-free by 2040. .
Mack Trucks’ demonstration of MD Electric took place — in front of reporters, customers and dealers — at one of five road courses to host a NASCAR weekend this season. NASCAR made its debut at Sonoma in 1989. The road course features an elevation change of more than 160 feet from the highest point (Turn 3A, 174 feet) to the lowest point (Turn 10, 14 feet).
Freight up the hill to Turn 3a is similar to the steep delivery trucks you handle in the nearest major city on the route – San Francisco.
The first element to note about the MD Electric is how responsive the acceleration is; There’s instant power, good for any racetrack hike or delivery to a bar up the hill.
Reporters participated in a trip and drive for MD Electric. (Kieron Greenhalgh/Transport Topics)
Braking was easy coming out of Turn 3A down the sharp right-hand turn. There are three modes of regenerative braking plus air braking. Any tension was due to the driver’s competence.
The truck is quiet and has a simple design.
As reporters walked around the track, there was a hairpin heading into the start/finish straight, known as Turn 11 on the road course. The hairpin comes after a long run down the hill during turns 7-10.
The MD Electric was responsive and easy to steer through the concrete, bollard-lined corner normally negotiated by much smaller vehicles.
“Operators like the speed of response,” said Scott Barraclough, Mack Trucks’ senior e-mobility product manager, offering some feedback on how testing went before track day.
Barraclough says MD Electric’s chassis and body accessories will have J bolts instead of U bolts. (Kieron Greenhalgh/Transport Topics)
The MD Electric is available in Class 6 and Class 7 ratings. The Class 6 option has a GVWR of 25,995 pounds, while the Class 7 model has a GVWR of 33,000 pounds.
The truck’s maximum payload is 19,400 pounds. At 13,600 pounds, the Class 7 hull is about 3,000 pounds heavier than the MD 7, while the Class 6 hull is 1,000 pounds heavier than its counterpart. It is offered in dry/refrigerated truck, wedge/flatbed and dump truck formats.
MD Electric’s chassis and body accessories will have J-bolts instead of U-bolts, Baraclough said, because they are easier to install and have less chance of rubbing against wires.
The batteries are located behind the cab. The company uses off-the-shelf Sea Electric batteries rather than proprietary ones, unlike Daimler Truck North America, whose Freightliner eM2 began production in recent days at the company’s plant in Portland, Oregon.
Mack Trucks chose the lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt oxide chemistry because of its high energy density and low weight, George Fotopoulos, president of the e-mobility business unit, said during an Oct. 30 presentation to reporters. “We evaluated several batteries” before choosing the nickel-manganese-cobalt option, he said.
MD Electric can be charged using both AC and DC connections. Using an AC power source, the truck can be fully recharged in six to 11 hours; With an 80-kilowatt-hour DC connection, the truck is ready to go again in 100 to 150 minutes, Fotopoulos said.
Mack Trucks expects 70% of MD Electrics vehicles on the road to be box trucks, whether those are dry vans or refrigerated ones. About 80% of medium-duty Mack Trucks customers drive less than 250 miles a day, Fotopoulos said, noting that workday charging will be available and regenerative braking will help with range as well.
Volvo’s Keith Brandis and Eric Bond take an in-depth look at how the company’s SuperTruck 2 improves charging efficiency. Listen above or go to RoadSigns.ttnews.com.
“This truck has a unique edge” when compared to competing internal combustion engines, Fotopoulos said. The battery comes in two configurations: 150 kWh and 240 kWh, which have corresponding maximum ranges of 140 miles and 230 miles. These ranges were calculated on the basis of the decreasing load, he said, adding that deviations from ambient temperatures should also be included in the calculations.
The three-year total cost of ownership is cheaper than that of a diesel counterpart, he said.
Mack Trucks began taking orders for the MD Electric in the summer, Fotopoulos said, adding that the production program is not yet complete for 2023. The first deliveries of the MD Electric will be in the fourth quarter of 2023.
“We took care of the heavy crane (with LR Electric) and now we are taking care of the medium crane,” he said.
Mack Trucks also showed off medium-duty diesel trucks in September at another NASCAR road course – Wisconsin Road America.
The Volvo Group plans to achieve its 2040 targets with a range of battery electric vehicles, fuel cell electric vehicles and internal combustion engine vehicles that use bio or renewable fuels.
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