Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) announced this week it has built the first two Class 8 battery electric Freightliner eCascadias for customers at its research and development centre in Portland, Oregon.
The trucks are part of Freightliner’s Electric Innovation Fleet and built to test the integration of battery electric trucks into large-scale fleet operations.
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 be delivered prior to the end of August. Additional deliveries of the Freightliner Electric Innovation Fleet will continue throughout 2019.
The eCascadia is built on the foundation of the Freightliner Cascadia, the best-selling Class 8 heavy-duty truck on North American 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 influence the final production versions of both the eCascadia prime mover and the medium-duty Freightliner eM2 rigid truck.
The Freightliner eCascadia prime mover is designed for local and regional distribution.
Both the eCascadia and the medium-duty eM2 are currently planned to enter series production in late 2021.
The eCascadia currently has a range of more than 400 kilometres on a full battery charge and delivers 400kW (540 horsepower) with a Gross Vehicle Weight of 80,000 lbs (36,300 kgs). The 550kWh battery pack can be recharged to at least 80 per cent capacity in just 90 minutes.
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.
“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.”