In 2009, $38 million in Recovery Act funding saved hundreds of RV manufacturing jobs in Elkhart Indiana. Today, those workers are responsible for delivery of the first of 400 electric trucks to FedEx.
One particular niche of the American manufacturing sector that was hit extremely hard when consumer discretionary spending took a dip was the recreational vehicle industry. In Elkhart County, Indiana, the RV capital of the United States, unemployment went from under 5 percent to almost 15 percent in just one year. The recession forced the closure of not one, but three RV manufacturing plants in Elkhart Co. owned and operated by Monaco Coach.
In August of 2009, President Obama visited Elkhart County, noting that the county had "lost jobs faster than anywhere else in America." But President Obama was also in town to announce that Navistar, the company which absorbed the bankrupt Monaco Coach, would be the recipient of a $38 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant to retool and produce electric vehicles, the first of 400 hundred vehicles were delivered to FedEx today.
The eStar is the first medium-duty commercial vehicle to receive EPA certification as a clean fuel fleet vehicle as well as California Air Resources Board certification as a zero emissions vehicle.
“For businesses, municipalities and other organizations that demonstrate their environmental commitment, the eStar provides them with a smart option,” said Shane Terblanche, general manager, electric vehicles, Navistar. “We have brought the eStar to market to meet the needs of responsible customers who strive to have a positive impact on the environment through energy efficiency.”
The eStar all-electric truck has a range of 100 miles per charge and can be fully recharged via slow-charging stations located at fleet headquarters in 6-8 hours.