An oft-overlooked aspect of the EV evolution is the development of practical and affordable commercial trucks. Italian automaker Iveco is trying to step into this nascent market with its Electric Daily, an all-electric light truck used for deliveries and maintenance routes. Iveco is working with Brazilian utility Itaipu Binacional to test out the practicality of the Electric Daily during day-to-day commutes. Iveco is no stranger to electrical drive systems with multiple generations of all-electric prototypes going back to 1986.
The Daily 55C cab on the Electric Daily offers simple but comfortable seating for two passengers. Iveco inserted a trio of Zebra Z5 sodium nickel chloride battery packs in the Electric Daily to facilitate propulsion. The automaker is also touting its regenerative braking system, which is critical for short-range vehicles making multiple stops each hour.
The Iveco Electric Daily is designed not only to stand up to rigorous environmental standards but also the rigors of daily travel. Iveco indicates that the sodium nickel chloride batteries are not only emissions-free but recyclable and free of maintenance concerns. The Electric Daily has been tested at a maximum distance per charge of 62 miles, which is sufficient for delivery trucks making a small number of local deliveries. Iveco designed the Electric Daily with a top speed of 43 miles per hour when fully loaded to easily handle traffic in alleys, parking lots and city streets.
As the Iveco Electric Daily hits Brazilian streets, the automaker will work with Fiat and Itaipu Binacional to begin production. Iveco and Itaipu Binacional will use the initial testing phase to determine not only vehicle performance but energy infrastructure needs in target markets. Fiat and Itaipu Binacional have a pre-existing production agreement going back to 2006 for the automaker’s Palio Electric supermini.
The first round of Iveco EVs will hit the streets of Fox do Iguacu on behalf of Itaipu Binacional. The mere mention of the Iveco Electric Daily to fleet buyers throughout Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina has created buzz. Iveco claims that the Electric Daily is already drawing interest from international companies interested in its commercial electric vehicles. In a nod to this pre-production buzz, Iveco and its partners are already working on the next generation of the Electric Daily for 2010.