Daimler Trucks North America delivered the first of its electric Freightliner eCascadia Class 8 trucks this week.
The deliveries of the electric version of the nation’s best-selling heavy-duty truck mark the beginning of what Daimler and others in the industry expect to be a long transition to electric trucking.
Penske Truck Leasing and NFI, a motor carrier, each took one of the eCascadias into their fleets. Daimler will deliver a combined 18 more trucks to the companies in the coming months. Penske and NFI will use the vehicles to test the integration of battery-electric trucks into large-scale fleet operations.
The companies are working in partnership with the South Coast Air Quality Management District in Southern California to improve air quality in the region. The agency is providing a $16 million grant to partially fund the program.
“We are excited to be a part of this groundbreaking project that will directly impact local Southern California communities, especially those disproportionately impacted by air pollution,” said Wayne Nastri, South Coast AQMD’s executive officer.
“We hope to see large scale deployments of similar zero-emission trucks that will have significant environmental and health benefits across the entire state,” he said.
Penske will run eCascadias in daily delivery operations within California’s Inland Empire. The electric trucks will make multiple, daily store deliveries on a dedicated route.
NFI will use the eCascadias in drayage operations at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
The program is the “cornerstone of Daimler Truck North America’s strategy to rapidly develop and deploy battery-electric trucks,” said Roger Nielsen, chief executive of the truck manufacturer.
Penske and NFI will provide Daimler with feedback that it will use to create the final design of Freightliner’s electric truck models, he said.
The Freightliner eCascadia and smaller Freightliner eM2 are part of Daimler Trucks’ global electrified truck initiative. Penske is already testing the eM2. Daimler has more than 100 electrified trucks and buses on the road globally.