This week Daimler Trucks North America announced that it is accepting orders for its two revolutionary new all-electric freight trucks. Production is scheduled to begin in 2022, and aim to reduce the fleet emissions of large interstate shipping companies. The eM2 box truck and eCascadia freight tractor bring EV tech into the world that needs it most—goods transport.
As part of the rollout for the new trucks, Daimler and Freightliner will have a consulting team available for customers to develop a plan for integrating electric trucking into their fleets. If your regional shipping company needs help implementing the charging infrastructure at depots, it sounds like Daimler can help you out in that arena.
Considering the reduced operating costs of electric, this could be just the revolutionary development that trucking has been looking for. These two vehicles claim to be the longest-range commercial battery-electric vehicles on the market, with up to 250 miles from a charge. There are a lot of goods which don’t need to travel from coast to coast, most notably the last leg from regional distribution centers to consumer sales stores, or from large-scale farming operations to grocery stores.
“From the reveal of proof of concept in 2018 to a demonstration fleet that’s in the hands of real customers, running real freight in the real world, to today’s moment where we are ready to formally welcome the nation’s fleets to all-electric freight movement, the entire team at Daimler Trucks North America is incredibly proud of our progress,” said Richard Howard, Senior Vice President of on-highway sales and marketing at Daimler Trucks North America. “Moreover, we are very excited to take this next important step into the future of carbon-neutral freight transportation with our great customers and dealers.”
Both of these trucks will be offered with either a single electric motor or a dual-motor configuration offering as much as 23,000 lb-ft of torque. The eCascadia offers an 82,000 pound gross combined weight rating, with as much as 250 miles of range. The medium-duty eM2 box truck has a range of 230 miles, which should be plenty for an around-town hopper kind of box truck like this.
There aren’t any specs yet on how big of a battery is required for either of these trucks to make that kind of mileage, or how quickly these could re-charge if given a DC Fast charging station. That said, for relatively local delivery these should be able to make their runs and come back to the depot for recharge. It’s less expensive to charge on your own electricity supply than at a charging station anyhow.
[Edit 04/09/21 6:23PM - Freightliner has released battery and charging specs. The eCascadia will carry a 475 kWh battery pack which charges to 80 percent in 90 minutes, while the eM2 has a smaller 315 kWh pack which will charge to 80 percent in 60 minutes.]
Considering that the average Class 8 tractor trailer achieves single-digit miles per gallon numbers on the highway, this seems like it would absolutely slash the cost to move goods from place to place. And that’s without even getting started on the emissions benefits!
The company currently has 38 trucks in a pilot fleet covering hundreds of thousands of miles in testing.