The Tesla Motors name usually conjures images of sexy electric sports cars, but in this instance, the automaker’s name is tied to a very un-sexy vehicle: a commercial step van. Tesla’s lithium-ion battery packs will power a new EV van chassis built by Freightliner Custom Chassis.
Freightliner had previously announced it was partnering with Enova to develop an electric step van, but hadn’t announced where it would source the vehicle’s batteries. Few details on the battery packs have been revealed, but the company says the packs will provide a range of 100 miles on a single charge, which takes roughly 6 to 8 hours.
The battery pack powers electric motors with power ratings that range between 121 hp (90 kW) and 323 hp (240 kW). These motors propel vans with gross vehicle weight ratings starting at 14,000 pounds and ranging up to 19,000 pounds, depending on the configuration.
Production of these electric vans should begin in the first quarter of 2011, and will begin testing in major delivery fleets across the U.S. shortly after.
Source: Freightliner Custom Chassis