Navistar announces eStar, fully electric commercial truck [Image update]

Navistar has officially unveiled an all-new commercial truck, known as eStar. Navistar says it is the world's first all-electric purpose-built commercial truck to offer zero tail pipe emissions.

During a joint web conference with the Department of Energy and FedEx shipping, Navistar officially revealed the new eStar electric truck.

Navistar eStar born with help of federal government
The eStar all-electric truck first became a reality in August 2009, when President Barack Obama visited Navistar's manufacturing plant in Elkhart county, Indiana, to announce a $39.2 million federal stimulus grant. Navistar says it has now completed all testing and validation, developed and delivered prototype vehicles and received both EPA and CARB certifications. The eStar also meets all Federal Motor Vehicles Safety Standards (FMVSS).

The eStar is a Class 2c-3 electric truck - the first and only truck in the category. Navistar says it has a range of 100 miles, with a full charge possible in 6-8 hours. The eStar is capable of hauling a 4,000 pound payload, despite having only 102 horsepower, and comes with either a 14- or 16-foot cargo box. The eStar carries a price tag of $150,000, and Navistar hopes to deliver as many as 400 trucks by the end of 2010.

Although the range is limited to 100 miles, much like most electric passenger vehicles, Navistar believes the eStar will still be a viable option for many commercial applications. "We have brought the eStar to market to meet the needs of responsible customers who strive to have a positive impact on the environment through energy efficiency," said Shane Terblanche, general manager of electric vehicles for Navistar.

FedEx goes green
FedEx is the first customer in line for the eStar, looking to add four examples of the electric truck to its fleet in Los Angeles. The delivery company says it will use the trucks for regular eight-hour delivery routes, but is limited to city streets due to its 50 mph top speed.