Penske & NFI To Begin Tests of Electric Freightliner Later This Year

JUL 20 2018 BY MARK KANE 32

Daimler Trucks North America announced two partners – Penske Truck Leasing and NFI – that will test later this year the 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

“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

“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.”

Categories: Daimler, Trucks

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32 Comments on "Penske & NFI To Begin Tests of Electric Freightliner Later This Year"

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Thank you again, Tesla, for pushing your agenda. Much appreciated.

Tesla didn’t push the agenda on trucks. There are already trucks, buses in production long before Tesla showed a prototype.

We’ll have to agree to disagree. No company that I know of has pushed an all-electric semi truck like Tesla. I’m aware of Nikola, Daimer, and Cummins’ offerings, I believe those to be byproduct of the first mainstream electrics, which were produced by Tesla and Nissan almost 10 years ago.

But I still thumbs you up, because, well, it’s Friday!

Daimler made electric trucks back to the 1890’s so if the argument is “first to market” kinda hard to beat that lol

They also had prototypes all the way back to the 1970’s and actual production in small trucks in the 1990’s

I hope Tesla semi is successful but call a spade a spade they barely have two conceptual prototypes.
None used by any freight companies.

I mean even Thor has prototype running everyday hauling freight

Sorry, let me qualify my statement then. Thanks Tesla, for being the first viable, legitimate all-electric semi truck, which has kicked all the other semi manufacturers in the rear hindquarter to produce something other than diesel for decades and decades. Thanks Tesla, for walking point in the quest to break an entire industry away from petroleum, aside from the minor token dabblings from the likes of Daimler and others.

Jesus, you all know what I mean. Why does every generally understood comment have to be nit-picked to death at this site anymore??

It’s mostly just when someone says something positive and/or negative about Tesla 😉

Nah, same happens to Leaf for example.

Nobody knows what you mean. This is not nit-picking. You’re just wrong.

Hahaha! “Nobody.” I love folks who live in the world of ‘always’ and ‘never.’ Funny how the ‘nobody’ who responded to my original comment knew exactly what I meant. Re-read all my comments, if you can’t understand what I said, there’s no reason for you and I to continue this discussion.

Have a great weekend.

Yes they did, electric trucks. There were some but none from the big manufacturers and most believed it could not be done. And there were zero long(ish) range class 8 trucks. This 250 mile version could do most semi-long distance.

It’s good to see that there will be 20 ecascadia prototypes actually being used for freight starting yet this year

I do not see Tesla’s semis hauling freight daily but with just two conceptual prototypes I suppose that would be too high of an expectation.

I do not see Freightliners 40% market share going away anytime soon. 2018 has been record settting backlog in class 8 trucks in North America. It’s like 10 months 145,000 units

Freight is at all time high so all the truck builders are selling everything they can build.

Tesla has two prototypes that barely holds in one piece.

Nobody knows what you mean.

I have no idea as to the ultimate reliability – but I am somewhat miffed that all this ‘FANFARE’ regarding Tesla trucks (including 2 intermediately sized pickup trucks that at this LATE DATE seem to have been just thrown together for a big publicity splash) has resulted in precious little detail about the concept vehicles themselves. I would have expected at least some tentative specifications as to how the truck is actually going to be built, and charged, but all I’ve seen so far is another non-descript connector – and that the prototypes charge just fine at 100 kw or whatever at the neighborhood supercharger (which the big experts here said would never be done, I might add). The only ‘technical’ detail has been the charging cost will be ‘7 cents / kwh’ but even that has not specified whether it is the larger power to the charging facility (probably, since it is an easier promise to keep), or whether the storage in the truck will only cost 7 cents/ kwh (harder statement to fulfill). And of course there has been NOTHING mentioned as to how a typical trucking company is going to use the totally vaporware (actually, black hole… Read more »

I wonder how much these opportunities to engage with customers turn into an experience like shopping at a car dealership where the real purpose seems to be to convince you how an electric vehicle is not suitable and you need what they have in stock now.

Not really with maybe the exception of a single owner operator. When you buy a class 8 truck you spec it out for how you are going to use it then order multiples to be built. Dealers carry very tiny inventory just for demos mostly

Either it will work for someone or it won’t. But if it’ll work, the fuel savings will pay for any price premium in record time, so it’ll be pretty hard to coax people to a diesel instead.

The best way of putting out a fire is to not let it start. I think they heavy truck makers don’t want to let Tesla take away a chunk of their business the way the Model S bit into the luxury sedan market. With their years of experience cranking out product they can get a number of electric trucks out their while Tesla is still struggling to get enough model 3s out there to turn a profit. If and when Tesla turns it’s attention to the production of heavy trucks they may be facing stiff headwinds from the competition who got rolling ahead first.

If the best they can do in 2021 is “up to” 250 miles, and 90 minutes charging to 80%, I don’t see them taking much sales from Tesla Semi…

Tesla Semi has no sales to take, so you are right. The question, can Tesla take sales form the other manufacturers? Price, performance, service and reliability is as of yet totally unproven for Tesla.

The point is that the original poster was talking about “competition who got rolling ahead first” — which is a tall claim, considering the announced 2021 roll-out for a considerably less capable model.

Tesla has build two prototypes, whereas other manufacturers are actually rolling out a test fleet for real world testing. So far the Tesla Semi is a bit of a dream more than a product

Considering that it’s scheduled for 2019, even on Tesla time, it should start mass production before 2021.

We’ll see about that, right now Tesla is later than a couple of other manufacturers in getting trials out.

Or maybe they just have more confidence in their technology.

I mean, the Tesla Semi has barely 50 more miles of range in its “short-range” version, so I don’t see the big difference. As it is, most trucks aren’t necessarily running within either of those two distances OR they’re running way beyond them.

Unless they upgrade the range of the short-range variant, too…

But yeah, that one will have a bit more competition I guess. Pricing will be interesting…

There basically are 12 different manufacturers currently working on EV trucks, most of their first releases are very niche oriented , which includes Tesla’s first design(s)

I give Tesla credit with kind of starting out with a fresh design, but that being said there are a number of things in their design not to like.

I run irregular route long haul so until they design a cab with a bunk, and all the amenities that go with it , no interest here.

Yeah, it’s pretty clear that Tesla is targeting fleets operating known routes rather than private truckers taking on varied loads at this point… I wouldn’t exactly call that “niche”, though.

But Daimler is clearly ahead for building something for that market.

There will be 20 of these running in the ports of LA by April 2019 and the first ones by this December.

Shipping a handful of prototypes three years before planned production doesn’t really put them ahead. It just means Tesla is more confident in their technology. Whether that’s justified (since they are mostly using tried and tested technology from their existing vehicle programs), or just overconfident, remains to be seen.

I think more accurately it’s means Tesla at the moment has no budget for their semi. No place to build it or charge it and most importantly no service infrastructure to service 13’6” high trucks. That’s a long row to hoe.

Daimler has there first engineering protypes now running in Oregon.