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A123 Systems, a developer and manufacturer of advanced Nanophosphate lithium-ion batteries and systems, today announced a production agreement with Navistar to supply lithium-ion battery systems for electric vehicles for the Navistar-Modec EV Alliance, a joint venture between Navistar and Modec Limited of the U.K.
According to the supply agreement, which builds upon an earlier development agreement that was announced in March, A123 will manufacture battery systems for Navistar's eStar electric delivery vehicle at its Livonia, Michigan, facility.
A number of vehicles have already been shipped to Federal Express as part of the earlier development agreement. The work is partially paid for by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding, administered by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Rather than converting an existing, conventional fossil-fuel powered truck, Navistar's eStar truck is a commercial electric vehicle that is purpose-built to be electric. With zero tailpipe emissions, the Navistar EV can potentially reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 10 tons annually, when compared to an equivalent diesel-powered vehicle, the company says.
The Navistar electric vehicle has a gross vehicle weight rating of 12,100 pounds and a payload capacity of two tons. The vehicle will be assembled in Wakarusa, Indiana, and is scheduled for launch in mid-2010.
A123's battery pack will enable the Navistar electric vehicle to travel a distance of approximately 100 miles on pure electricity before needing to be recharged. The battery pack will be capable of a rapid charge rate and will have a charge time dependent on the power of the charging system applied.
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]