Market Overview

Utilimaster Debuts Customizable Cargo Body For Last-Mile Delivery, 2 Electric Models

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Utilimaster has unveiled a new customizable cargo box for last-mile delivery. The box has separate compartments that can be individually temperature controlled. ( Photo: Brian Straight/FreightWaves )

Utilimaster has unveiled a new customizable cargo box for last-mile delivery. The box has separate compartments that can be individually temperature controlled. (Photo: Brian Straight/FreightWaves)

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INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana. Utlimaster is a well-known truck body brand, but not often discussed when speaking of leading truck innovators. Their bread-and-butter product, so to speak, is the bread van, found often in parcel and other last-mile operations.

On Wednesday, at the National Truck Equipment Association's Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, Indiana, Ultilimaster, a Spartan Motors (NASDAQ: SPAR) business unit, introduced two electric models and a new concept body for last-mile delivery.

The electric chassis models include a walk-in van powered by Motiv Power Systems' EPIC electric system. The vehicle features lithium ion batteries and 85 miles of electric range with a three-battery pack system, and 120 miles with a four-battery pack system. Gross vehicle weight is 22,000 pounds for the vehicle, giving it plenty of capacity to handle package delivery, explained Eric Fisher, director of engineering for Utilimaster.

"Normally you cube out before you weigh out," he said.

The van features a collision mitigation system, 360-degree cameras displayed on a 9-inch HD in-dash monitor, and DOT sensors. Utilimaster said the van will reduce operating costs by 85 percent compared to a traditionally fueled vehicle with a 66 percent reduction in maintenance over the life of the vehicle.

The vehicle entered testing last fall with production set for June or August.

The second electrified chassis is a first for Spartan. Collaborating with Cummins (NYSE: CMI) and built on Isuzu's strip chassis, which is the same chassis the Utilimaster Reach van is built upon, the new chassis offers 3,200-pound payload and less than 6 hours of charge time. The vehicle has an 85-mile range and is a Class 3 model.

"By introducing these new vehicles and corresponding technologies, our goal is to advance the future of electric vehicles for the last-mile delivery segment; and in doing so, create a better experience for our customers, operators, and consumers," said Daryl Adams, Spartan Motors president and CEO.

The final reveal for Spartan was the customizable and configurable cargo body. The body features a Thermo King refrigeration system that allows the customer to cool various cargo chambers to varying degrees. The Thermo King system can hold temperatures to 25 degrees below zero overnight.

Adams said the body is an answer to the growing last-mile grocery delivery business, which is expected to reach $100 billion by 2025 in North America.

With five cargo bays on each side, the body offers plenty of customization opportunities for customers.

"We can configure this any way you want," Adams said.

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