A company called Harbinger says electric medium-duty trucks are an unmet demand in the market. To help remedy this, the company revealed its electric truck chassis at the Detroit Auto Show, including a completed truck.
The e-chassis underpins Class 4, 5 and 6 trucks, which makes delivery vehicles the most obvious candidates for an upfit, but it could be anything from emergency vehicles to school buses to RVs. “I know we sound like another EV startup promising the world,” said Harbinger CEO John Harris, “and that’s why you’re just hearing from us now. We wanted to build it first, and then show it to you. We’ve been working diligently behind the scenes.”
Harbinger said the chassis, including battery and e-axle, was developed completely in-house, with just the battery cells sourced from abroad. Its battery capacity is scalable in 35-kWh increments — the capacity of each pack — and use 800-volt architecture and a liquid cooling system for faster charging and improved performance. Each 35-kWh pack provides about 40 miles of driving range. Harbinger says this truck chassis was built “for all demographics and climates,” with driver comfort and safety in mind to help combat driver shortages. The trucks also use a steer- and drive-by-wire system, which helps to future-proof the vehicles for autonomous driving.
Harbinger sees its trucks outlasting the usual four- to six-year lifecycle of other medium-duty trucks, with an expected lifespan of 20 years, or roughly 450,000 miles depending on an individual truck’s duty cycle. Harbinger says its e-truck is ready to go, with a pilot program launching next year and volume production in late 2024. Harbinger says it will be built in Michigan using a UAW workforce. It is partnering with Wabash to create truck bodies to pair with the chassis, but it can supply to other customers or upfitters to create a variety of vehicle styles.
As for the competition, Harbinger doesn’t see a lot out there. Other companies like BrightDrop are focused on other classes; Harbinger’s focus on medium-duty is what sets it apart. It also believes it can be competitive based on its lower costs thanks to all the in-house development and production, as well as the lower costs of operating scalable trucks with a long lifecycle.