PORTLAND, Ore. — Freightliner’s Innovation Fleet of 30 battery electric medium- and heavy-duty trucks has accumulated more than 300,000 miles of real-world use by customers, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) announced July 31. The fleet’s purpose is to test integration of battery electric technology into large-scale commercial transportation operations.
“Co-creation with our customers is a cornerstone of Freightliner’s unique approach to the market,” said Richard Howard, senior vice president of on-highway sales and marketing for DTNA.
“The knowledge and expertise our logistics customers have in fleet operations with their thousands of trucks is invaluable as we design and engineer the zero-emissions future of the commercial vehicle,” he continued. “Crossing the threshold of 300,000 miles of testing, then one million miles, then more — together — before we begin series production of battery electric trucks will ensure we deliver the performance and reliability our customers count on and which has made Freightliner the undisputed leader in commercial trucks.”
The Freightliner Innovation Fleet is supported and partially funded by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD), which focuses on improving air quality in the South Coast Basin of Southern California. The fleet includes 10 eM2s and 20 eCascadias that are being tested in a variety of applications, including drayage, regional and local delivery, food distribution and parcel delivery. The 300,000 local emissions-free miles logged by the fleet represent the equivalent mileage to complete:
- 5660 one-way trips between the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles to the warehousing centers of California’s Inland Empire;
- 2500 trips to complete the average local distribution run;
- 41 trips to travel to all 10 DTNA parts distribution centers located in North America; and
- 12 trips to circle the globe.
Freightliner first unveiled the concept eCascadia and eM2 in June 2018, announcing the Innovation fleet and naming Penske Truck Leasing and NFI as partners for the fleet’s deployment. Daimler Trucks established its global E-Freight Mobility group to consolidate electric vehicle research and development the same month.
In October 2018, Freightliner convened the first meeting of the Electric Vehicle Council to collaborate with customers interested in fleet electrification. Two months later, in December, Freightliner’s first 3M2 was delivered to Penske. In August 2019, the first eCascadias were delivered to Penske and NFI.
In March 2020, Freightliner announced the formation of a customer-experience fleet, along with plans to add six eCascadias and two eM2s to a pre-series testing fleet for rotational use by 14 customers. Last month, in July, the Innovation Fleet reached a milestone of 300,000 miles of real-world use.
Freightliner plans to begin series production of the eCascadia by mid-2022 and the eM2 by the end of 2022.