Production of Mack Trucks LR Electric Model Underway in Lehigh Valley
By Colin McEvoy on January 7, 2022
Serial production is now underway in the Lehigh Valley for the highly-anticipated Mack LR Electric, Mack Trucks’ first fully electric vehicle.
Don Cunningham, President & CEO of Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), said the new truck is another example of the importance of Mack Trucks in the region’s manufacturing sector and a testament to the innovation and ingenuity of the Lehigh Valley’s 700-plus manufacturing firms. The Lehigh Valley is a Top 50 manufacturing market in the United States in terms of economic output.
“We are in the midst of a nationwide trend toward electric vehicles, and the Lehigh Valley is well-positioned for growth opportunities in that sector,” Cunningham said. “Mack Trucks is one of the most iconic brands located in the Lehigh Valley, and is really at the start of the curve when it comes to the transition to electric heavy-duty vehicles.”
All of Mack Trucks’ heavy-duty vehicles for North America and export are assembled in the Lehigh Valley facility in Lower Macungie Township, and that will include the Mack LR Electric, according to Jonathan Randall, Mack’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Commercial Operations.
“Mack has long been a leader in the refuse segment, and we couldn’t be more pleased to now be producing Mack LR Electric vehicles to help our customers meet their sustainability goals,” Randall said. “Customer response to the LR Electric has been overwhelmingly positive, and we look forward to putting more into fleet operations now that we are in production.”
Equipped with four NMC Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide lithium-ion batteries, the Mack LR Electric will serve both commercial and municipal customers. It was first introduced as a prototype in 2018, and Mack later announced plans to commercialize the vehicle.
“We are successfully producing the LR Electric at LVO, and we are fulfilling customer orders as we speak,” said Gunnar Brunius, Vice President & General Manager, Lehigh Valley Operations (LVO) at Mack Trucks. “I’d like to recognize the hard work and dedication of LVO employees who have been eagerly preparing for this moment.”
Brunius discussed the new Mack LR Electric line – as well as the company’s commitment to the Lehigh Valley – during an interview with LVEDC in October as part of the organization’s executive video interview series.
Mack Trucks employs more than 2,500 people in the Lehigh Valley, and last year it completed an $84 million expansion project at its regional facility that included equipment and improvements, the insourcing of chassis assembly, and a 300,000-square-foot addition.
The LR Electric is charged by a 150kW, SAE J1772-compliant charging system. The batteries provide vehicle propulsion and power for all onboard accessories driven through 12V, 24V and 600V electric circuits.
A three-mode regenerative braking system helps recapture the energy from the hundreds of stops the vehicle makes each day as a result of increasing payload throughout the day.
The Mack LR Electric may be fitted with equipment bodies from numerous manufacturers based on the unique needs of the customer. The LR Electric features the same industry-leading ergonomics and visibility as the diesel-powered LR model.
“If you look at the world and also the United States, of course, everyone is looking for CO2-neutral or zero-CO2 trucks, and we are on to that journey as well,” Brunius said in the LVEDC interview. “We’re not planning to fall behind.”
Mack delivered the first demonstration LR Electric vehicle to the New York City Department of Sanitation in September 2020. Since then, the vehicles have been in real-world testing in the demanding environment of the world’s largest sanitation department.
The second LR Electric demonstration model was delivered in October 2020 to Republic Services and is being tested in a residential application in Hickory, N.C.
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