Morgan Olson blew into the 2020 NTEA Work Truck Show in Indianapolis on March 4 by pulling the wraps off the Storm, a prototype of a new Class 2 walk-in step van with gasoline or electric powertrains.
The Storm is designed to provide large fleets and independent contractors alike with “a DOT-free, under 10,000-pounds GVWR commercial-grade step van delivery solution,” as the company put it.
“The Storm provides a purpose-built, Class 2 work truck solution that anyone can drive,” said Rich Tremmel, Morgan Olson’s vice president of sales and marketing.
“We build step vans for the world’s largest e-commerce parcel package delivery companies every day, and fleet managers are seeing a shortage of DOT-licensed drivers,” he continued. “Morgan Olson has responded with this new step van under the 10,000-lb.-GVWR benchmark; the design creates new driver opportunities, embraces new advanced driver safety technologies, and provides an automotive-like driving experience.”
According to Tremmel, the Storm prototype design differs from typical Class 2 vans and cab chassis/cutaways because it does “not come with lighter-weight automotive doors, handles, and other moving parts that can’t withstand the cycling demands required for long-life use and durability. All the components and moving parts in the Storm body are proven long-life work truck solutions.”
Two prototypes were revealed at the show. One is gasoline-powered, while the other makes use of a BMWi EV powertrain, which Morgan Olson said powers over 65,000 vehicles in Europe and is being readied for the North American market.
Other key features of the Storm design include:
- A higher “seated” ergonomic driver’s seat position compared to the lower-seated position of a cargo van. “The Storm’s elevated seated position provides a more natural range of motion for package delivery route drivers making hundreds of stops each day.”
- Advanced driver-safety features, such as a blind-spot information system that include a 360-degree camera with split-view display, a lane-keeping system, and a pre-collision assist system with automatic emergency braking.
- An adaptable body design “accepts new autonomous OEM features as our chassis partners develop them.” The Storm shown at WTS is built on the Ford F150 chassis. But as development moves forward, the company plans to “explore additional class 2 chassis partners.”