Balqon Corporation has introduced the latest model in its line-up of heavy-duty, all-electric trucks, the Nautilus XR E20. The new truck is a longer-range version of its Nautilus XE 20, and can operate for 16 hours (or up to 150 miles) between recharges, according to company president and CEO, Balwinder Samra.

Like the XE 20, the new truck is designed to serve as a yard tractor. It is built on an AutoCar chassis and features a four-speed, fully automatic transmission; high-performance AC induction motor - 200 HP @ 1800-2400 RPM with 600 lb-ft of torque @1800 RPM; and is powered with a lithium iron phosphate battery pack which has an extended life cycle. There is a five- year warranty on all battery packs.

The Nautilus XR E20 was developed using Balqon’s proprietary electric drive system, Samra explained, which encompasses complete power management, propulsion, and power conversation systems including drive trains and energy systems (the batteries and charging system).

“Our background is in electric ground support vehicles, such as fueling carts for airports and yard tractors,” Samra told Fleet Owner. “Balqon has extended that experience to the development of a battery-powered, heavy-duty yard tractor.”

Samra acknowledges that the mass and weight of the required batteries can be an issue for many over-the-road applications, but says there are plenty of jobs that battery-powered, zero-emissions vehicles can handle. For example, the company also offers the Nautilus Model XE- 30 tractor, designed to transport containers at a terminal or on the highway, and the Mule 150, an all-electric, inner city delivery truck designed to carry about 7 tons of cargo.

Rail yards are being forced to go electric, Samra observed, and there are cities in the world, such as Buenos Aires, which will only allow electric vehicles to operate after a certain hour because of pollution and noise.

“The battery-powered vehicle market is still a niche play,” he said, “especially in the U.S., although you could get to 100 percent market share for electric vehicles in compact and crowded places like Singapore. They are already doing all-electric buses in China. This is a market where you find applications [first] and then develop customized solutions.”