Navistar International Corporation, based in Warrenville, Ill., and Modec Limited of the UK, announced that they will begin a joint-venture producing a line of all-electric commercial trucks.

NavistarThe move makes good on a $39.2 million federal grant in stimulus funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop and build an all-electric truck.

The  zero tailpipe emission all-electric commercial trucks (rated as Class 2c-3 and produced under the name Navistar-Modec EV Alliance, LLC) will have a carrying capacity of two tons and will be built for heavy stop-and-go driving. The vehicles will rely solely on plug-in power and will be able to run for up to 100 miles per charge.

The vehicles will be marketed and sold in North, Central, and South America beginning in 2010. Four hundred will be produced in the first year, with several thousand built annually within the next two years. The creation of Navistar-Modec EV Alliance, LLC also will lead to the creation of over 700 new jobs, the company officials said.

“The commercial market is ready for electric vehicle technology to advance,” said Dee Kapur, president, Navistar Truck Group in a statement. “This vehicle is road ready for fleets to implement as a practical solution for many applications. It has an excellent, eye-catching design that says, ‘this is something different, the future is now.’ We see this as an ideal vehicle for the U.S. urban markets. We already have interested customers, including some of the most respected names in the industry.”

Navistar is not new to the development of environmental-friendly vehicles. In 1989, Navistar was the first to release the smokeless diesel engine and, in 2001, Navistar was the first engine manufacturer to gain certification from the EPA for meeting reduced particulate and hydrocarbon emissions standards – six years ahead of schedule.

Navistar was also was a pioneer in line production of commercial diesel hybrid trucks and school buses. Most recently, Navistar became the first original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to receive dual certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) SmartWay Program for helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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