Kodiak Reveals Self-Driving Electric Truck

The self-driving startup unveiled the new vehicle at the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo in Anaheim, California

Graham Hope

May 5, 2023

3 Min Read
Kodiak Robotics

Self-driving trucking start-up Kodiak Robotics is going electric.

The company, based in Mountain View, California, has revealed its first-ever all-electric Class 8 truck, a zero-emissions Peterbilt Model 579EV, which will be fitted with Kodiak’s autonomous driving tech.

The vehicle was unveiled at the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo in Anaheim, California.

Kodiak will apply its recently unveiled fifth-generation hardware platform, which comprises 18 sensors, including Luminar’s Iris lidar, and says it plans to incorporate the truck into its fleet next year.

Because the Kodiak Driver tech has been designed to be vehicle- and powertrain-agnostic, the company says it can be easily incorporated into emerging truck platforms, regardless of fuel type.

The Model 579EV provides a peak power rating of 670 horsepower and can be recharged in three hours. But the maximum range is a relatively short 150 miles, highlighting why most of the self-driving trucks tested and developed to date have been diesel-powered, with the exception of Swedish company Einride’s radical cabin-less electric pioneer.

Kodiak says it intends to use the Model 579E for short-haul and drayage deployments, plus as a test vehicle. This approach, the company feels, will leave it well-placed to integrate further iterations of the Kodiak Driver into future EV platforms as the technology evolves and ranges increase.

Related:Autonomous Trucking Company Unveils More Advanced Self-Driving Tech

It also points out that studies have shown that autonomous tech enables a reduction in fuel consumption of around 10%, which will help extend the range of electric trucks.

Generally, the truck industry has lagged behind automobile manufacturing when it comes to electrification, but the need to embrace it was reinforced in late April with the news that California will require all new medium- and heavy-duty vehicles sold or registered in the state to be zero emissions by 2036.

While California is an outlier at present, it is clear that more states will follow, and by acting now, Kodiak is striking early in preparation.

“We believe that the future of trucking is the combination of electric and autonomous vehicles,” said Don Burnette, founder and CEO of Kodiak. “Given advancements in battery and fuel cell technologies, achieving zero-emissions trucking will soon be within reach. 

“Kodiak’s work on the Peterbilt Model 579EV will help us gain valuable experience in how to build autonomous electric vehicles and help us realize that vision. Customers have been long asking for an autonomous electric vehicle and we are delivering on that need.”

The company added that it would explore other sustainable vehicle platforms – such as hydrogen fuel cells – as they come to market.

Kodiak has made great strides in the past couple of years, pairing with partners including IKEA, US Xpress and 10 Roads Express for autonomous trucking pilots on routes in Texas, Oklahoma and the Southeast.

About the Author(s)

Graham Hope

Graham Hope has worked in automotive journalism in the U.K. for 26 years, including spells as editor of leading consumer news website and weekly Auto Express and respected buying guide CarBuyer.

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