A prominent supplier and “operating system” for battery-powered fleets, Xos, an EV firm that specializes on commercial trucks, unveiled two new vehicles this evening. On top of its current battery-electric stepvan and powertrain, Xos added two more vehicles to its lineup on Tuesday: the HDXT heavy-duty tractor and the MDXT medium-duty truck. The HDXT was developed by Xos for regional-haul fleets and has a range of up to 230 miles per charge. The HDXT also has 36,583 ft lbs of torque, the most “currently available by a commercial vehicle on the market today,” according to Xos (for the numbers geeks).
The smaller MDXT, which can be configured as a box truck, refrigerated vehicle, or flatbed, can go up to 270 miles on a single charge, according to Xos. These ranges fall well short of the 500-mile promise for Tesla’s long-delayed Semi, but they still provide enough power to complete the majority of hauls. The Los Angeles-based company’s mission to replace some of the most polluting cars on the road today is arguably just as seductive as the consumer-focused Teslas and Rivians of the globe, though.
Think about a standard tractor-trailer: If I close my eyes, I can envision one humming beside a Vons supermarket, loaded down with what looks like Pepsi cases, and emitting pollution so potent that I could taste it from the curb. Commercial vehicles like this are harmful to the environment yet being necessary. According to a 2021 research from the Environmental Defense Fund, they’re accountable for more than “420 million tons of climate pollution per year in the United States alone – more than the whole country of Australia.” Communities of color are disproportionately affected by the ensuing air pollution.
According to the CEO of Xos, Dakota Semler was motivated by these negative impacts to co-find the company about six years ago. It’s thrilling to say that we can genuinely make a difference in improving local air quality, not only CO2 emissions, but actually making the air that we live in cleaner to breathe, said Semler, adding: “For every truck we’re putting on the road, we’re doing something beneficial.” Along with the new cars, Xos also unveiled a software platform called Xosphere that, according to the firm, would lower the cost of maintaining an electric fleet.
Now, according to Semler, “we can manage charges, schedule charges, and charge vehicles from the same platform where you handle service tickets, telematics, and driver, safety, and awareness monitoring.” According to the firm, “a few dozen” Xos cars are now in use on public roads, 56 of which were delivered in the first quarter of 2022. While this is going on, several well-known trucking companies are switching to EVs. That includes Volvo Trucks, which unveiled the second generation of its electrified large rigs earlier this year, and Daimler, whose first heavy-duty electric trucks are planned to enter production this year.