Penske Truck Leasing held a grand opening for its growing network of DC fast chargers at its La Mirada, Calif., service center Tuesday as it prepares to usher in a new era of zero-emissions medium- and heavy-duty trucks.
“We are ready to charge them. We are ready to maintain them. We are ready to go,” said Drew Cullen, senior vice president of fuels and facilities for Penske Truck Leasing.
The Reading, Pa., company operates more than 311,000 vehicles in North America with 15,000 full-service lease customers at 750 service centers. But only one of those vehicles is currently electric – the Freightliner eM2.
“The eM2 we took delivery of in December, the last time I saw it, it was plugged in in Chino and charging up. It’s very exciting,” Cullen said.
Penske will add another nine of the medium-duty eM2s, as well as 10 of Freightliner’s all-electric Class 8 eCascadias, before the end of the year. The trucks are part of a testing program Penske is running with its large fleet customers, asking them to run Daimler’s Freightliner electrics as they would every other truck in their fleet to provide feedback to Daimler Trucks for its production models.
Daimler Trucks North America President Roger Nielsen told Trucks.com in December that the company will bring its battery-electric trucks to market “in huge volumes in 2021.”
14 CHARGING CENTERS
To support those Daimler electric trucks and those from other manufactures, Penske started the process of installing DC fast chargers at its Southern California facilities in September, Cullen said. It now has 14 operating at service centers in San Diego, Chino, Anaheim and La Mirada. Penske will install an additional six fast chargers at its facility in Ontario.
“All the locations have a diverse range of customers that have the ability to utilize electric vehicles,” Cullen said. The locations were also chosen because they had the requisite power to support 150 kilowatts of charge.
The chargers are from BTCPower of Santa Ana, Calif. They charge an all-electric class 8 tractor from zero to 100 percent in less than half a work shift, or about five hours.