Daimler Trucks North America announced two partners - Penske Truck Leasing and NFI - that will test later this year theĀ new all-electric Freightliner trucks.

There are 30 units envisioned for deployment in the pilot phase in 2018. Penske Truck Leasing will take 10 Freightliner eCascadia heavy-duty trucks and 10 Freightliner eM2 medium-duty trucks, while NFI will receive for testing 10 eCascadia.

Freightliner eCascadia

Freightliner eCascadia

"The move is the next phase of a co-creation process that DTNA is utilizing to actively involve customers in the development of commercial electric vehicles to meet the most valid target applications. Starting late this year, Penske will begin taking delivery of 10 eCascadias and 10 eM2s for use in California and the Pacific Northwest, while 10 eCascadias will begin being delivered to NFI for drayage activities from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to warehouses in California's Inland Empire. Additionally, DTNA plans to operate electric trucks within its own Product Validation Engineering (PVE) test fleet in Oregon to further expedite research and development of the technology."

Series production of the new trucks is scheduled for 2021. Whether Freightliner will be able to maintain high market share in the electric truck segment as in case of conventional trucks (40% semi in U.S.) is an open question.

Freightliner eCascadia (Class 8 tractor) spec:

  • up to 730 peak horsepower
  • 550 kWh usable battery capacity
  • up to 250 miles (400 km) of range
  • ability to charge up to 80 percent (providing a range of 200 miles) in about 90 minutes
  • 80,000 lb. gross combined weight rating (GCWR)
Freightliner eM2 spec:
  • up to 480 peak horsepower
  • 325 kWh usable battery capacity
  • up to 230 miles (370 km) of range
  • ability to charge up to 80 percent (providing a range of 184 miles) in about 60 minutes
  • 26,000 lb. gross combined weight rating (GCWR)

Freightliner eM2

Freightliner eM2

"In preparation for the 2021 start of production, DTNA announces the Electric Vehicle Council today. The council will prepare customers, with viable use cases, in evaluating and integrating commercial electric vehicle solutions into their operations. Technical learnings from the Freightliner Electric Innovation Fleet and test fleet will be shared with the customer base in this forum. As testing progresses, the DTNA Electric Vehicle Council will discuss planned product offerings to gather candid feedback as the OEM moves towards commercialization of electrified trucks. Through the EV Council, DTNA will work hand in hand with customers, establishing the necessary charging infrastructure, vehicle deployment and service support. DTNA plans to offer customers consulting services to assist with site selection based on truck applications, available government incentives, infrastructure deployment and route identification as part of a preliminary review prior to commercial electric vehicle business proposals."

Freightliner eCascadia

Freightliner eM2

Roger Nielsen, president and chief executive officer of DTNA said:

"Freightliner is excited to be working with Penske and NFI on this critical learning process as we further develop and refine our commercial electric vehicle technology. Running multiple trucks in real-world applications will provide better insights for our engineers into the requirements of integrating electric commercial vehicles into fleet operations. We are partnering with these two customers for this phase of the co-creation process because they have use cases that closely fit the target applications we have identified. Both Penske and NFI are forward-thinking partners eager to take on the challenge, effort and investment that will be required during this important development phase."

Richard Howard, senior vice president, sales and marketing, Freightliner Trucks said:

"The DTNA approach to bring commercial electric vehicles to market is holistic. With the Freightliner Electric Innovation Fleet, we will be working, hands on with Penske and NFI. As a separate part of a co-creation process we will also launch the EV Council that emphasizes shared learning before we begin series vehicle production. While heavy-duty electric vehicles present the greatest engineering challenges, we're committed to a process that leads to series production vehicles that are safe, reliable and efficient. We don't compromise on this key component of the Freightliner brand legacy. We've been successfully mass producing durable commercial vehicles for decades that stand up to the rigors of the road. Electric commercial vehicles present a real opportunity to reduce emissions and enhance our customers' bottom lines through improved uptime and lower operating costs."

Brian Hard, President and CEO of Penske Truck Leasing said:

"Penske is committed to bringing the most effective commercial vehicle technologies to our customers. We have had a long, collaborative relationship working with Daimler and its Freightliner brand. We are encouraged by the progress Daimler has made with their electric vehicle platforms for heavy-duty and medium-duty applications. We look forward to our continued cooperation and co-creation with Daimler on these electric vehicles as we operate them within our expansive logistics, truck leasing and rental fleets."

Sid Brown, CEO of NFI said:

"Innovation is what moves the world and business forward. At NFI, we value collaborating with other companies that share our commitment to developing new and better products and processes for our industry and the communities in which we operate. The eCascadia is just that. Freightliner is known for bringing practical, transformative solutions to market. We're proud to partner with them in development of the Freightliner Electric Innovation Fleet. We fully expect it to be successful and a significant benefit to an untold number of people and communities."