Tevva is a new brand of electric trucks being built in the UK in an assembly plant to the the East of London. If its ambitious production targets are anything to go by, it will have outgrown the building by the end of next year reckons PowerTorque’s European Correspondent, Will Shiers.
The first battery-powered 7.5-tonners will stealthily roll off the line in July, and by the middle of 2023 it expects to be producing between 150 and 200 units per month. By then it will be firmly into the transition phase. Of these, an estimated 33 per cent to 50 per cent will go to British customers, with the rest destined for European export markets including Benelux, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. But it is also looking further afield.
There are several Tevva models in the pipeline, but first to market will be its 7.5 and 8 tonne battery electric offerings. Based on glider chassis supplied by Iveco, the truck features a 110kW lithium iron phosphate battery, which operates at 380V. Advantages of lithium iron phosphate are that it’s thermally very stable, cost effective, and it’s good for 80 per cent capacity after 2,000 charging cycles. It is however slightly bulkier and heavier than some other chemistries.
The truck utilises a new 120kW switched reluctance motor. Developed specifically around commercial vehicle duty cycles, it has no permanent magnets, which means cooling requirements are less complex. It also doesn’t contain any rare earth metals, which helps to keep the cost down. The motor is modular, in this case consisting of two 60kW pieces, generating 150hp.
The early prototype has a 4.8m wheelbase, air suspension at the rear and parabolic at the front. It is fitted with a pantech body and has a 2.8-tonne payload.
Just how a company that’s buying-in glider chassis cabs from a third party, is able to significantly undercut the old-guard truck makers’ electric offerings, leads me to assume that we will see some significant price drops in the coming years.
Tevva Marketing Director, David Thackray agrees, and acknowledges that Tevva won’t have the market to itself for very long. He fully anticipates that established rivals will be offering battery-powered trucks ‘at a more sensible price’ by 2025.
“That’s another reason why we’re all about pace,” says David. “The sand is in the glass, but that’s fine. In three of four years from now, when someone has 50 of our vehicles and then a competitor says ‘we’ve got one at that price now’, they’ll say ‘that’s nice but there’s no reason to change as we’re happy with what we have.
“Tevva will have built a reputation for great range, great reliability, great driving characteristics and with a great service behind them, in that situation, we expect operators will find no motivation to revert to historical supply arrangements.”
Thackray has a pet hate, and that’s when the industry quotes maximum ranges. In his opinion it is far more relevant to talk about worst case scenario. In the case of the 7.5-tonne Tevva, this is between 70 and 80 miles (110-130km), although operators can expect a normal range of between 110 and 130 miles (180-210km). The actual range is of course heavily dependent on a number of factors, including the weather, the driver, terrain, traffic conditions and ancillary loads (in particular refrigeration).
Full production of this currently unnamed model starts in July. The next model in Tevva’s timeline will be a hydrogen fuel cell range extender 7.5 tonner, which goes into production in Q1 2023. This will be followed by a fuel cell range extender 12 tonner in Q3 2023, which is joined by a 19-tonne version six months later.