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Less than a year ago, Navistar International was awarded $39 million in grants from the federal government. The money has gone a long way to help kick-off commercial production of the eStar, the company’s first fully-electric cargo van. Navistar plans to build 4,000 eStar two-ton cargo vans by the end of the year with hopes of increasing future capacity to around 5,000 units annually. Navistar has not released the number of buyers committed to the $150,000 eStar, but did suggest that initial inquiries are around 200, with FedEx claiming the first four.
Though the eStar is built by Navistar, its chassis is supplied by Modec and the quick-change capable lithium-ion battery comes from A123 Systems. Range is estimated at 100 miles and the quick-change battery can be swapped out in under 20 minutes. If battery-swapping is not your thing, the eStar can be charged by the traditional cord and plug method. Though $150,000 might be quite the bill to foot, incentives can come into play and cost savings in fleet use can quickly negate any extra spent up-front, making the eStar an economically and environmentally responsible choice.
[Source: Green Car Advisor]