A new, green, portable charging system mounted on a Mack MD electric will help the OEM's customers evaluate electric trucks in their own fleet operations.  -  Photo: Mack Trucks

A new, green, portable charging system mounted on a Mack MD electric will help the OEM's customers evaluate electric trucks in their own fleet operations.

Photo: Mack Trucks

Mack Trucks is introducing a mobile, off-grid charging system to help its customers better understand electric truck operations in their own fleets. Mack made the announcement at in-booth briefing at the American Trucking Associations Technology and Maintenance Council Annual Meeting and Transportation Technology Exhibition, March 4-7, in New Orleans. According to Ryan Saba, energy solutions manager for Mack Trucks, the new mobile charging system is mounted on a Mack MD Electric truck. The system is part of an effort by Mack to help its customers investigate e-mobility for Class 6-8 vehicles and its feasibility for their fleets.

“We see this vehicle as a bridge system,” Saba explained. “A fleet customer is going to be hesitant to make an investment in electric trucks until they can test the technology for themselves in their own fleet operations. And we know that if they do not already operate battery-electric vehicles, the chances are they’re not going to have charging infrastructure available onsite.”

Breaking Down Barriers

The mobile Mack MD Electric charging unit can be used for a limited time by customers who want to test the technology, and by dealers when facilitating electric vehicle demos, Saba noted.

“This system will allow the customer or dealer to charge trucks – whether it’s a demo unit or a multi-unit ride-and-drive event at the dealer – without having charging infrastructure readily available at their site,” he explained. “Mack hopes that this option will help customers more easily experience the benefits of e-mobility and a more sustainable transportation option.”

The off-grid charging system will consist of a generator powered by renewable propane and 120kW charger. The system will be mounted on the back of the MD Electric truck transporting it. Mack currently does not have plans to make the truck-charger configuration commercially available in its energy solutions portfolio but can support customers interested in purchasing the truck charger combo through their supplier relationships.

“Our job as an electric truck builder in these early days to break down barriers to entry into the BEV market,” Saba explained. “That’s the best way to help increase the adoption of these vehicles. We have a suite of solutions that surround this vehicle that help remove anxiety about this new technology and help our customers feel more comfortable about making that transition.”

Robust Electric Truck Options

The Mack MD Electric can be configured to be a Class 6 or Class 7 vehicle, Saba said. It features a three-phase permanent magnet synchronous 260 horsepower motor powered by nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) oxide lithium- ion batteries, rated at a 240kWh and good for an estimated range of up to 230 miles.

The MD Electric is the second electric vehicle introduced by Mack Trucks to the industry. The first was the Mack LR Electric, which went into production in December 2021.

The Mack LR Electric is a Class 8 refuse model with a GVWR of 66,000 pounds. The next generation Mack LR Electric offers 42 percent more energy and a standard 376kWh total battery capacity for increased range between charges. Twin electric motors with 448 continuous horsepower and a 4,051 lb.-ft. of peak torque output from zero RPM power the vehicle.

Both trucks display a copper-colored Bulldog above their grills, which makes them easily identifiable as a Mack and denotes the electric drivetrains.

The Mack MD Electric is produced at Roanoke Valley Operations (RVO) in Roanoke Valley, Virginia, where Mack began production of the Mack MD Series in 2020. The Mack LR Electric is produced at the Mack Lehigh Valley Operations (LVO) facility in Macungie, Pennsylvania, where all Class 8 Mack vehicles for North America and export are assembled.

About the author
Jack Roberts

Jack Roberts

Executive Editor

Jack Roberts is known for reporting on advanced technology, such as intelligent drivetrains and autonomous vehicles. A commercial driver’s license holder, he also does test drives of new equipment and covers topics such as maintenance, fuel economy, vocational and medium-duty trucks and tires.

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