ArvinMeritor Inc. is developing an electric drive vehicle with Unicell Ltd., a medium-duty body builder, the company said in a statement this week. The new vehicle, with a GVWR of 16,000 lbs., will be shown to the public in 2006. The initial vehicle application is for pickup and delivery vehicles. The particular fleet name is being withheld pending completion of the vehicle development. A company spokesperson said that many commercial vocational applications exist where this type of zero emissions vehicle will become dominant over the next five to 15 years, primarily due to emissions concerns. The rate of adoption will be largely dependent on the cost of battery energy storage relative to the cost of fossil fuel. This new drivetrain system relies on onboard energy storage and delivers the torque to the wheel ends via motors integral to the vehicle's rear axles. The company says the goal is to produce a delivery vehicle that has lower maintenance costs and lower energy costs along with zero emission operation, zero crude oil consumption and a reduction of more than 80 percent in 'well-to-wheels' greenhouse gas emissions.
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