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Electric Vehicles & E-Mobility FAQ

Find answers to frequently asked questions about transitioning to an electric fleet.

How can I determine if an electric truck is right for my fleet?
The first thing for any business to do before switching to an EV fleet is to ensure it makes financial sense. Upgrading to EV vehicles can be a massive expense, so ensuring your business will see the returns that make the investment worth it is important. The best way to calculate the financial viability of the upgrade is to compare the total cost of ownership (TCO) between conventional and electric fleet vehicles. Check our Navistar's Cost of Ownership Calculator to find our how much you could save switching to electric.

What is causing the shift from ICE to electric vehicles?
The shift to zero-emission vehicles offers a significant opportunity for reducing the environmental footprint of fossil fuels. Battery electric trucks and buses boast energy efficiency up to 3.5 times greater than diesel or natural gas options, while maintenance requirements are substantially lower due to fewer moving parts.

How do battery electric trucks work?
Electric trucks work similarly to electric cars, using an electric motor to power the vehicle instead of an internal combustion engine. The motor draws energy from a large battery pack typically mounted on the truck's underside. The battery pack is charged either by plugging the truck into an electrical outlet or by using regenerative braking, which converts the energy generated by braking back into electrical energy to charge the battery. The motor then transmits power to the wheels, allowing the truck to move. Electric trucks have the potential to be more efficient and environmentally friendly than traditional diesel trucks, as they produce zero emissions and require less maintenance. They are particularly beneficial for short-haul and urban delivery routes.

What safety features are built into electric vehicles from International and IC buses?
Important safety features include:

  • Electric "handshake" high-voltage interlock
  • Charging is only possible when the cable is fully connected
  • Protection from high voltage during charging, maintenance, or accidents
  • Safe in all weather conditions
  • Vehicle is immobile while charging: Impossible to drive off while connected

What is regenerative ("regen") braking?
Why do Navistar's electric vehicles provide three levels of regenerative braking?
Electric trucks and buses are revolutionizing the transportation industry by utilizing regenerative braking technology to increase their range significantly. This innovative advancement allows for energy that would typically be wasted during friction from brake rotors, instead to be recaptured back into charging the vehicle's battery under moderate braking conditions.International® and IC Bus® have incorporated three driver-selectable levels of regenerative braking capability - Level 1, which is similar to a traditional automatic transmission; Level 2 provides more resistance but still allows some speed through; and finally, level 3 offers an impressive "one pedal style driving" as it can bring vehicles down to just a few miles per hour with only needing service brakes at complete stops!

How long does an EV battery last?
EV batteries are reliable and will have a wide range of life expectancies based on factors such as battery composition, temperature, or charging rate. The industry experts are closely monitoring data from truck fleets and will have a more accurate understanding of battery life expectancy in the near future. To give extra assurance to customers' satisfaction with their purchase decision, IC Bus offers extended warranties for its electric vehicles.

What types of chargers are available for Navistar vehicles?
Any charger with a minimum of 600 volts will work, including:

  • Network-capable chargers
    Level 2 AC (19.2 kW) - 1772 SAE standard connection
    Minimum for overnight charging (not recommended)
  • DC charging station (30 kW) - Combination CCS1 adapter port
    More efficient than AC, recommended minimum
  • DC fast-charge station (up to 125 kW) - Combination CCS1 adapter port
    More efficient than AC, the fastest option
  • DC public fast-charging (up to 125 kW)

How long does it take to charge an electric truck or bus?
AC charging typically takes overnight, and DC fast charging takes just a few hours. Environmental factors such as battery age, condition, and ambient temperature are additional factors. The Zero Emissions team will work with our customers to recommend the best installation for your charging needs.

Common EV industry terms and acronyms:

AMPERAGE: The rate of flow of electrons through a circuit, a.k.a. current

AVERAGE POWER: The amount of power that your fleet requires while charging, averaged over the charging window

BEV: Battery-Electric Vehicles

BEV DEMAND: The amount of power supplied to BEVs during charging

CHARGING RATE:  The rate at which a BEV is charged, measured in kilowatts (kW)

CHARGING WINDOW:  The period of time in your fleet's duty cycle when vehicles can charge

CIRCUIT: The path along which electricity flows

CLOUD-BASED COMMUNICATIONS:  A wireless internet-based service carrying information on EVSE status, energy consumption, location, and payment for use between the owner and the user(s)

DCFC:  Direct current fast charge, usually stated as DC fast charge

DEMAND CHARGE:  A  fee applied to your greatest power draw during peak periods on top of the rate that you pay for the energy ($/kW)

DISTRIBUTION:  The process of delivering power from transmission lines to the customer

DUTY CYCLE:  The portion of time during which a vehicle is operated

ENERGY CHARGE:  Your baseline price of electricity, charged based on the amount of energy you consume ($/kWh)

EVSE:  Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment or the charger unit

FIXED CHARGE:  A fee covering the regulator-approved costs that the utility pays to supply your power, such as distribution and transmission ($/month)

FLAT RATE:  A rate structure under which you are billed at a single price per kilowatt-hour consumed regardless of time, season, or application

GENERATION:  The process of producing electricity from a fuel source

ICE: Internal Combustion Engine

kW:  One kilowatt is equal to 1000 watts

kWh:  Kilowatt-hour, a unit of measure for electrical energy. 1 kWh is the energy delivered by 1 kW of power for 1 hour

LOAD PROFILE:  A graph showing the amount(s) of power that your fleet requires over a day

METER:  A device that records the amount of power (kW) and energy (kWh)

NETWORKING SERVICE:  An internet-based service that allows an EVSE owner to analyze primary activity data from one or more

EVSEPEAK SHAVING:  A strategy to reduce power consumption during periods of high demand

POWER FACTOR ADJUSTMENT:  An adjustment to your demand charge according to how efficiently your facility consumes power

ATE STRUCTURE:  A set of parameters used to define the prices that a customer may be charged at different times of the day

SEASONAL RATE:  Additional distribution fees covering the costs of weather stressors on the electric grid during winter or summer

SUBSTATION:  A set of electric equipment that reduces high-voltage power to a voltage suitable for distribution to customers

TIME-OF-USE (TOU):  A rate structure under which you are billed different prices for the power you consume according to the time and season when it is consumed

TRANSFORMER:  A device that changes electricity from one level of voltage to another

TRANSMISSION:  The process of moving power in large quantities across long distances

VOLTAGE:  Pressure created by a difference in electrical charge between two points

WATT:  One watt is defined as the current flow of one ampere with a voltage of one volt

ZEV: Zero-Emission Vehicle