Daimler Trucks North America LLC (DTNA) has delivered the first two Freightliner eCascadia Class 8 trucks to customers: Penske Truck Leasing and NFI.
The trucks are part of Freightliner’s Electric Innovation Fleet. Both customers will use the vehicles to test the integration of battery electric trucks into large-scale fleet operations.
“Co-creation is the cornerstone of DTNA’s strategy to rapidly develop and deploy battery electric trucks. DTNA’s partnerships with customers like Penske and NFI provide valuable feedback for the final design of our trucks, as well as the design of the surrounding e-mobility ecosystem,” says Roger Nielsen, president and CEO of DTNA. “DTNA’s holistic approach is vital to advancing viable transportation solutions from which society as a whole will benefit.”
The Freightliner Innovation Fleet is supported by a partnership between DTNA and the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD), which focuses on improving air quality in the South Coast Basin. It partially funded the innovation fleet with a grant of nearly $16 million.
“We are excited to be a part of this groundbreaking project that will directly impact local Southern California communities, especially those disproportionately impacted by air pollution,” comments Wayne Nastri, executive officer of the South Coast AQMD. “We hope to see large-scale deployments of similar zero-emission trucks that will have significant environmental and health benefits across the entire state.”
Penske Truck Leasing will run eCascadias in daily delivery operations within California’s Inland Empire, while NFI will use eCascadias in drayage operations at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
“We’re pleased to continue our collaboration with Freightliner and be among the first companies putting the eCascadia to work,” notes Brian Hard, president and CEO of Penske Truck Leasing. “Our first eCascadia will be used by our subsidiary Penske Logistics to make multiple, daily store deliveries on a dedicated route. Our in-house maintenance technicians are trained and well-prepared, and our recent investments in charging infrastructure in the South Coast Air Basin will play an important role as we operate these cutting-edge vehicles on their delivery routes.”
“NFI’s partnership with Daimler is a testament to our commitment to social responsibility, supporting the California ports and driving innovation within our industry,” adds Sid Brown, CEO of NFI. “As the premier drayage provider in Southern California, we are excited to be one of first to deploy the eCascadia into our operations, accompanied by the installation of electric charging stations. We look forward to continuing to invest in new technology and equipment to operate more efficiently, and to do our part in creating cleaner communities.”
The Freightliner eCascadia is built on the foundation of the Class 8 Cascadia. The eCascadia was first revealed in June 2018, along with the medium-duty eM2. The planned start of series production for both models is late 2021.
Freightliner’s Innovation Fleet provides customers with the opportunity to fully test the eM2 and the eCascadia in real-world use. In total, Penske and NFI will receive 30 battery electric trucks.
The Freightliner eCascadia and eM2 are part of Daimler Trucks’ global electrified truck initiative, joining the company’s Thomas Built Buses all-electric Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley school bus, the FUSO eCanter, and the Mercedes-Benz eActros and eCitaro. To date, there are more than 100 electrified trucks and buses from Daimler Trucks & Buses on the road globally.