Freightliner Custom Chassis logoFreightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC) and Enova Systems announced today (Sept. 10) that they have jointly executed a letter of intent  to enter into an all-electric commercial chassis development program.

The development program includes close collaboration and will involve the engineering and integration of Enova’s 120kW and 90kW all-electric drive system technologies into target FCCC chassis platforms, including the MT-45 walk-in van chassis, according to a news release. Freightliner’s highest volume MT-45 chassis offers a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) between 14,140 and 19,000 lbs. and maximum payloads of 10,000 lbs. The MT-45 chassis is used by a range of customers including UPS and Federal Express.

The strategic agreement consists of four phases that include the development of at least four vehicles and placement into national fleets. Design, engineering, integration and testing activities will be conducted at the Freightliner Custom Chassis plant in Gaffney, S.C., and the Enova facility in Torrance, Calif.

“The technical, economic, and environmental factors driving increased demand for pure electric commercial vehicles are rapidly converging,” said Robert Harbin, president FCCC’s Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) division. “Our partnership with Enova Systems on this important development program is a clear indication that the market for these vehicles is approaching. We look to Enova to help us achieve our goal of having a profitable, in-plant, EV production program in the near term.”

Mike Staran, president and CEO of Enova Systems, added, “Collaboration with FCCC, an OEM with market leading positions with several ideal commercial vehicle platforms, provides us an immediate opportunity to penetrate markets not previously available. Our combined technologies and vehicle expertise will enable us to offer a wide range of flexible EV solutions that will ultimately allow us to gain market share in key segments.”

The companies have already begun showcasing their capabilities to potential customers and expect positive results from these initial demonstrations. Many national fleet operators currently served by the two companies have clearly stated their desire to deploy all-electric commercial vehicles in the 2010 timeframe.

Enova Systems is a leading worldwide developer and producer of all-electric and hybrid drive train technologies for commercial vans, trucks and buses. Enova’s non invasive systems enable customers to integrate their drive system technology in either new vehicle or retrofit applications.

FCCC manufactures premium chassis for the motorhome, delivery walk-in van and commercial and school bus markets. FCCC is a subsidiary of DTNA, a Daimler company.

Enova Systems Inc., an international company headquartered in Torrance, is the leading developer of electric and hybrid drive systems for buses and medium-duty vehicles. Enova produces four drive configurations (Pure Electric, Series Hybrid with Diesel Generator, Pre and Posts Transmission Parallel Hybrids) for customers including Smith Electric Vehicles and the China FAW Group Corp. Enova’s drive systems have powered thousands of electric and hybrid vehicles since 1980.