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April 24, 2020 9:45 AM, EDT

Diagnostics Could Ease Adoption of Electric Trucks

Mack LR displayThe Mack LR Electric refuse vehicle has gauges indicating charge status and regeneration. (Mack Trucks)

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The advance of diagnostic programs has improved maintenance and uptime for diesel trucks, and it appears the same will be true for electric-powered vehicles.

Mack Trucks’ LR Electric refuse truck will be monitored by the company’s GuardDog Connect remote diagnostics platform, “just like the diesel-powered version, and it will automatically send a notification of trouble to the Mack Uptime Center,” said Roy Horton, director of product strategy.

Volvo Trucks’ electric VNR tractor also is integrated with current service and diagnostic tools. The motor controllers are connected to a diagnostic connector port to assist technicians in troubleshooting.

In a similar vein, Vinoo Thomas, general manager of the electrical powertrain business at Cummins, said technicians will be able to use the company’s engine diagnostic software to resolve issues.

“Customers should not be needing to purchase a new tool every time they purchase different equipment,” he added.

Electric drive systems from component supplier Dana also will provide diagnostics capabilities to support upkeep.

“Dana systems include internal diagnostics which accommodate telematics communications to understand the state of performance and operation of the vehicle,” said Steve Slesinski, director of global product planning.

T.J. Reed, vice president of global electrification at Meritor, said the company’s Blue Horizon brand components also will provide “diagnostic tools that will produce fault codes, as well as an appropriate decision tree.”

“The system will plug into the customer’s telematics via the SAE J1939 vehicle bus to incorporate data on factors like battery system state-of-charge, and the level of regenerative braking in the diagnostic process,” Reed said.

These investments in diagnostic capabilities mean that technicians and maintenance managers who will be working with these new electric-vehicle systems won’t be flying blind.

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