Depending on who you believe, there will be more than 300,000 electric work trucks hitting the highways and byways of the world in the next three years. Companies like Kenworth, Mack, and Volvo have all made moves recently in a bid to gain a “first mover” market advantage, but you shouldn’t count out the Daimler-owned (read: Mercedes-Benz) Freightliner brand just yet, because the first of its all-electric Class 8 trucks destined for customers have already been built.
“This milestone in electric (vehicles) is important as both today and tomorrow’s technology is progressing. Our purpose is resolute – we build for our customers,” said Roger Nielsen, president and CEO of DTNA. His hope is that his company’s new EVs will allow transport companies to keep operating in major cities after their internal combustion bans take effect, of course– but it’s also worth noting that a large-scale move towards electric power can help shield truckers from the volatility of oil prices. That’s something that’s incredibly important to all truck drivers and fleet managers. “Our team is incredibly proud to be leading the way for the industry, but prouder still to be working with our customers in a process of co-creation to make real electric trucks, for real work, in the real world.”
These first trucks were built on the proven foundation of the Freightliner Cascadia, the best-selling Class 8 heavy-duty truck on the market. The trucks will be headed to Penske and NFI, who will be the first companies to employ the revolutionary eCascadia in their commercial operations in the Southern California markets. And that kind of makes sense, since California’s CARB has really been the driving force behind electrification in the US over the last few years.
Check out the press release, below, then let us know what you think of Daimler’s push into the electric truck market in the comments section at the bottom of the page. When you click the pictures, let me know what you think of the slick LED placement, too! Enjoy!!
First Freightliner eCascadia Battery Electric Trucks Headed to Customers
Portland, Ore. — Daimler Trucks North America LLC (DTNA) announced today that it has built the first two Class 8 battery electric Freightliner eCascadias for customers at its research and development center in Portland. The trucks are part of Freightliner’s Electric Innovation Fleet and built to test the integration of battery electric trucks in to large-scale fleet operations.
“This milestone in electric (vehicles) is important as both today and tomorrow’s technology is progressing. Our purpose is resolute – we build for our customers,” said Roger Nielsen, president and CEO of DTNA. “Our team is incredibly proud to be leading the way for the industry, but prouder still to be working with our customers in a process of co-creation to make real electric trucks for real work in the real world.”
The eCascadia is built on the proven foundation of the Freightliner Cascadia, the best-selling Class 8 heavy-duty truck on the market. The initial customer shipments are the first heavy-duty additions to the 30-vehicle Freightliner Innovation Fleet. Real-world use of the Innovation Fleet and continuing feedback from the members of the Freightliner Electric Vehicle Council will inform the final production versions of both the eCascadia and the medium-duty Freightliner eM2 in a process of co-creation.
Co-creation is the central tenet of DTNA’s approach to electrifying the future of commercial vehicles and a key enabler to the widespread adoption of battery electric trucks. The Electric Vehicle Council brings together 38 Freightliner customers to identify and address all potential hurdles to large-scale deployment of commercial battery electric vehicles. Issues at the forefront of the discussion include charging infrastructure, partnerships with other parties in the e-mobility value chain, vehicle specifications and vehicle use case.
Penske Truck Leasing of Reading, Pennsylvania and NFI of Camden, New Jersey are both members of the Freightliner Electric Vehicle Council and will be the first companies to employ the revolutionary eCascadia in their commercial operations. The eCascadias are destined for the Southern California operations of both companies and will arrive later this month. Additional deliveries of the Freightliner Electric Innovation Fleet will continue throughout 2019.
The Freightliner Innovation Fleet is supported by a partnership between DTNA and the South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD) which focuses on improving air quality in the South Coast Basin and partially funded the Innovation Fleet with a nearly $16M grant. The first of the medium-duty electric Freightliner eM2s began service earlier this year with Penske Truck Leasing and are operated within the South Coast AQMD.
“This is an exciting time for the future of zero-emissions trucks, said Wayne Nastri, South Coast AQMD’s Executive Officer. “As we work towards meeting air quality standards, it is imperative that truck manufacturers accelerate the commercialization of these technologies that will help clean our air and protect public health.”
Source | Images: Freightliner.