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Xos shows off two new EVs as diesel-guzzling fleets inch toward electrification

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Xos, an EV company that specializes in commercial trucks, took the wraps off two new vehicles this evening as it looks to become a leading provider and “operating system” for battery-powered fleets.

On top of its existing battery-electric stepvan and powertrain, Xos expanded its offering on Tuesday with a new heavy-duty tractor, dubbed the HDXT, and a medium-duty truck, the MDXT.

Xos made the HDXT for regional-haul fleets, claiming it can go as far as 230 miles per charge. (For the numbers nerds, Xos said the HDXT also features 36,583 ft lbs of torque, the most “currently offered by a commercial vehicle on the market today.”)

As for the smaller MDXT — which can take the form of a box truck, refrigerated truck or flatbed — it can deliver as much as 270 miles per charge, per Xos. Though these ranges sit far below the promised 500-mile range for Tesla’s long-delayed Semi, they still offer enough juice to cover most hauls.

Anyhow, Xos may never steal the spotlight quite like the consumer-focused Teslas and Rivians of the world, but the Los Angeles-based company's goal — to supplant some of the worst-polluting vehicles on roads today — is arguably just as sexy.

Imagine your typical tractor-trailer: If I close my eyes, I see one humming beside a Vons grocery store, packed full of something like cases of Pepsi, with exhaust so strong I could taste it from the curb.

As essential as they are, commercial trucks such as these are terrible for the environment. In the U.S. alone, they’re responsible for upward of “420 million tons of climate pollution each year – more than the entire country of Australia,” per a 2021 report from the Environmental Defense Fund. The resulting air pollution disproportionately burdens communities of color.

These harmful effects drove Dakota Semler to co-found Xos some six years ago, the CEO said in a call with TechCrunch. “For every truck we're putting on the road, we're doing something positive,” said Semler, adding: “It's exciting to say that we can actually make a difference in cleaning local air quality, not just CO2 emissions, but actually making the air that we live in cleaner to breathe.”

In addition to the new vehicles, Xos announced a software platform called Xosphere, which the company says was designed to shrink the cost of running an electric fleet. “Now we can do charge scheduling, charge management and vehicle charging, all from the same platform that you're doing your service ticketing, your telematics and driver monitoring, safety monitoring and driver awareness,” said Semler.

Currently, “several dozen” Xos vehicles operate on roads today, the company told TechCrunch, 56 of which were delivered during the first quarter of 2022. Meanwhile, some big names in trucking are shifting gears and investing in EVs. That includes Daimler, whose first heavy-duty electric trucks are slated to go into production this year, and Volvo Trucks, which announced the second iteration of its electrified big rigs earlier this year.

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