Daimler Trucks Feature 230-Mile Driving Range, 1 Hour Charge Time To 80%
Last July, German Automaker Daimler, which owns Freightliner, Mitsubishi Fuso and other truck brands, announced that it would deliver the first of 30 electric trucks to customers in North America for testing before the end of the year. Last week, fulfilling that promise, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) delivered the first vehicle in its Freightliner Electric Innovation Fleet—a Freightliner eM2—to Penske Truck Leasing in Carson, California.
The eM2 was the first of 10 that Freightliner plans to deliver to Penske in the next 12 months. Penske will put the medium-duty electric trucks through real-world testing prior to kickoff of mass-production in 2021. The truck’s 325 kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery is good for an estimated range of 230 miles, making the eM2 ideal for short-haul trips such as local distribution, pickup and delivery, food and beverage delivery and last-mile logistics applications.
Recharging from empty to 80 percent takes just 60 minutes using high-voltage DC fast-charging. Maximum pulling power totals 480 horsepower, but maximum axle torque output was not specified.
“This is not a demo, this is really a long-term test,” said Brian Hard, president and CEO of Penske Truck Leasing. The medium-duty trucks, generally used for local delivery to retail outlets and the like, will be carrying goods that include building materials, automotive parts, bottled beverages and snack foods, said Hard. “They’re going to be running these hard.”
The trucks will be owned by Freightliner and run by Penske through its own logistics service—not leased or rented to customers.
Class 8 Semi Tractors To Follow
Following the eM2’s family of 10 will be a series of 10 additional heavy-duty commercial truck prototypes, called the eCascadia. It’s based on Freightliner’s Class 8 80,000-pound gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). The battery will be 550 kWh, which will give it an estimated range of 250 miles. Eighty percent charge can be attained in 90 minutes; peak output will reach 730 horsepower.
All 20 eM2s and eCascadias earmarked for testing by Penske in California are scheduled for delivery by the end of 2019.
As the first step in its infrastructure deployment, Penske Truck Leasing will install 20 high-power charging stations across five of its California locations starting this month in: Ontario, Anaheim, La Mirada, Chino, San Diego and Santa Clara.
The eM2 didn’t wait very long to make its first delivery. Following the handover ceremony, the keys to the electric truck were turned over to “Santa Claus” to make a holiday delivery of native plant seedlings to help restore communities that continue to suffer from devastating wildfire damage.
Freightliner may be the first company to put electric trucks on the road for testing, but competition is just around the corner. Swedish truck maker Volvo said they will bring electric medium-duty trucks to the U.S. for testing in 2019 while Nikola, an Arizona-based start-up, plans to introduce a new electric semi-truck early in 2019 that runs on hydrogen-powered fuel cells. Last year, Tesla announced it would begin producing an electric semi in 2019. But in recent months, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has barely mentioned the Tesla Semi, for which no factory has been built or announced.
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