Behind the Wheel of an Electric Truck.

behind the wheel in an electric truck

What is the basic driving experience like in the SEA Electric, what’s it like being behind the wheel in an electric truck? PowerTorque took a drive in a selection of models to gauge the differences in the experience behind the wheel of the SEA truck and the Hino models the electric trucks are based on.

First step, use the key to turn it on, put the foot on the brake foot, turn the key and hold it as if you’re starting a traditional engine. Then let it go, now the screen is on, and the truck is ready to go. There’s a little green box on the screen, which says Ready. You’re ready to go. 

The screen shows charge levels in the battery. On this occasion there’s 69 per cent battery and the system tells us it reckons that it is 138 kilometres to empty. The truck is in neutral with the park brake on. When you take the park brake off, the red light will go away. Then the driver simply puts it into Drive, takes the handbrake off, and away you go.

behind the wheel in an electric truck

Once the truck is in drive, it can’t go directly to reverse, it has to go through neutral as a safety measure. The controls still have the exhaust brake functionality on the steering column stalk. Of course, it isn’t an exhaust brake, but a regenerative charger, which replenishes the battery, while slowing the truck. 

There are three levels of regeneration. One is when you take your foot off the accelerator, this is the default position on the stalk. Pulling the stalk down activates a more aggressive level of retardation. Touch the brakes and the system goes into an even more aggressive retardation mode, charging the battery at a higher rate. It really is just lightly touching the brake pedal which activates the retardation, the driver can use it like a switch.

behind the wheel in an electric truck

Some of the models are speed limited to 90 km/h, which means they are not specifically comparable to their diesel counterparts. However, in the kinds of applications these truck will be working, it is doubtful there would be many opportunities to get over 90 km/h.

“Like any hydrocarbon fuelled motor, electric motors also have rev limits, explains Glen. “The secret to successful electric truck power system design is correctly matching major electrical components, voltage, current, revolutions, and diff ratio to produce the required startability and dynamic performance at the broadest possible operating speed and GVM range. All the while minimising tare and cost whilst maximising range. On some occasions, a compromise is maximum vehicle speed.”

behind the wheel in an electric truck

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