Penske gets first Freightliner electric truck

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Updated Dec 21, 2018

Daimler Trucks North America President and CEO Roger Nielsen handing eM2 key to Penske Truck Leasing President and CEO Brian HardDaimler Trucks North America (DTNA) on Thursday delivered the first vehicle in its Freightliner Electric Innovation Fleet – a Freightliner eM2 – to Penske Truck Leasing, fulfilling the truck maker’s commitment to put an electric commercial truck in customer hands in 2018.

DTNA President and CEO Roger Nielsen handed over the eM2 key to Penske Truck Leasing President and CEO Brian Hard during an event in Carson, Calif. The two companies collaborated over nine months in the effort to bring this technology to market.

The introduction of the eM2 into Penske’s fleet is also a first in DTNA’s co-creation approach with customers as it co-develops technology to shape the future of transportation.

“With increased hauling demands and regulatory pressures, combined with ongoing concerns over energy resource depletion, it is more important than ever that DTNA continues to rigorously test and research electric vehicle solutions together with our customers,” Nielsen says. “Electric commercial vehicles present a real opportunity to advance the ideal of emissions-free mobility while improving our customers’ real cost of ownership (RCO).”

As the first step in its infrastructure deployment, Penske Truck Leasing will install 20 high-power charging stations across five of its California locations beginning this month. Next year, Penske will put an additional nine medium-duty electric eM2 trucks and 10 heavy-duty eCascadia electric trucks into targeted service in California and the Pacific Northwest. Penske will place the electric vehicles into service within its expansive logistics, truck leasing and truck rental fleets.

Also participating in the ceremony was Judy Mitchell, a governing board member at the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), which focuses on improving air quality in the South Coast Basin. The Freightliner Electric Innovation Fleet is partially funded with a nearly $16 million grant from SCAQMD. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach also contributed to the grant.

“SCAQMD is using every tool in its tool box to bring cleaner and more efficient technology to the marketplace to reduce harmful mobile and stationary source emissions to our region,” says SCAQMD Governing Board Member Judy Mitchell. “SCAQMD is proud to be a part of this innovative and ground-breaking project and we look forward to seeing some positive results from these efforts in the coming year.”

Following the handover ceremony, the keys to the eM2 were turned over to Santa Claus to make its first holiday delivery of native plant seedlings to help restore communities that continue to suffer from devastating wildfire damage. Along with the seedling delivery, DTNA and Penske Truck Leasing made a joint $50,000 donation to the TreePeople, a local non-profit organization that plants and cares for trees throughout Los Angeles County and nearby mountain forests. This holiday delivery brings much needed resources for cleaning the air, creating green spaces, and cooling the city.

Earlier this year, DTNA formed the Freightliner Electric Vehicle Council composed of 30 customers with strong use-cases for electric trucks, including Penske Truck Leasing, to further drive its sustainable transportation program. The company is working with the council members to ensure a holistic approach to launching electric trucks. Members of the customer council benefit from co-development of deployment strategies for battery electric vehicles including applicable use cases, current legislation and requirements for facilities, charging infrastructure and service support.

The Freightliner eM2 truck is an electrified solution for local distribution, pickup and delivery, food and beverage delivery, and last-mile logistics applications. The Freightliner eCascadia is a Class 8 tractor designed for local and regional distribution and drayage. Both trucks enter series production in 2021.

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 eC2 school bus, the FUSO eCanter, and the Mercedes-Benz eActros.