Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) announced this week its first deliveries of eCascadia trucks are on their way to customers.
Freightliner’s first two Class 8 battery electric trucks were built for Penske Truck Leasing of Reading, Penn., and NFI of Camden, N.J. — customers of its research and development center in Portland, Ore. — and will be part of Freightliner’s Electric Innovation Fleet to test the integration of battery electric trucks into large-scale fleet operations.
The eCascadias are headed for the Southern California operations of both companies and will arrive later this month. Additional deliveries of the Freightliner Electric Innovation Fleet will continue through the rest of the year.
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, DTNA says.
“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,” says DTNA President and CEO Roger Nielsen.
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, Nielsen says. 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 others in the e-mobility value chain, vehicle specifications and vehicle use cases.
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 $16 million 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.
The eCascadia, designed for local and regional distribution and drayage, and the medium-duty eM2 are currently planned to enter series production in late 2021.