Penske Truck Leasing, NFI partnering with Freightliner to test electric truck

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Updated Jun 29, 2018

Penske Truck Leasing and logistics provider NFI are partnering with Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) to log some real-world miles on a fleet of fully electric eCascadia and eM2 106 medium-duty trucks.

Freightliner’s Electric Innovation Fleet will consist 30 trucks – 20 heAvy-duty eCascadia and 10 eM2 106. Both models made their debut earlier this month.

Starting late this year, Penske will take delivery of 10 eCascadia and 10 eM2 for use in California and the Pacific Northwest. NFI is set to receive 10 eCascadia trucks for use in drayage at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and shuttling to warehouse locations in Southern California.

DTNA will operate both electric heavy- and medium-duty trucks in its Product Validation Engineering (PVE) fleet as part of their research and development process while its Electric Vehicle Council will share knowledge between customers gathered through the Freightliner Electric Innovation Fleet and DTNA electric truck testing.

Using the information and data gathered collaboratively, DTNA hopes to prepare their facilities and fleet operations for electric trucks by 2021 production.

“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,” says Roger Nielsen, president and chief executive officer of DTNA. “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.”

In preparation for the 2021 start of production, the Electric Vehicle Council will work to educate potential customers, providing them with viable use cases and helping to evaluate and integrate 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 through 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 plans to work closely with customers to establish 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.

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“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,” says Richard Howard, senior vice president, sales and marketing, Freightliner Trucks. “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.

At start of series production, the eCascadia will have up to 730 peak horsepower and feature an 80,000 lb. gross combined weight rating (GCWR). The batteries provide 550 Kwh usable capacity, a range of up to 250 miles and have the ability to charge up to 80 percent (providing a range of 200 miles) in about 90 minutes. The Class 8 tractor is designed for local and regional distribution and drayage.

The 26,000 lb. GCWR eM2 truck will initially have up to 480 peak horsepower. The batteries provide 325 Kwh of usable capacity, a range of up to 230 miles and have the ability to charge up to 80 percent (providing a range of 184 miles) in about 60 minutes. The eM2 is Freightliner’s electrified solution for local distribution, pickup and delivery, food and beverage delivery, and last-mile logistics applications.