Electrified hypercars with 1,200 horsepower are easy to want, but a future with zero-emission commercial vehicles is a need we could all benefit from. A recent announcement by Freightliner provides a positive step forward towards that future. On Friday, Freightliner announced their fleet of 30 battery-electric medium and heavy-duty commercial trucks had surpassed the 300,000-mile mark in real-world use by its customers.
This vehicle group is called the Freightliner Innovation Fleet and consisted of 10 medium-duty eM2 trucks and 20 heavy-duty eCascadia trucks. In summer 2018, both models debuted with the first eM2 arriving for duty with Penske in December that year, and the first eCascadia trucks delivered to Penske and National Freight Inc. (NFI) in August of 2019.
The Innovation Fleet logged miles while being used in regional and local delivery, food distribution, and transporting from port to warehousing just like a conventional diesel commercial truck. This was a field-test to find out how well battery-electric trucks can handle real-world applications.
The eCascadia is a heavy-duty truck, much like the ones you see pulling trailers and occasionally hogging both lanes on a highway. This battery-electric truck has a gross combined weight of 80,000 pounds and a peak horsepower rating of 730. The 550 kWh battery pack provides 250 miles of range, and a 90-minute charge can deliver 80 percent battery life or 200 miles of range. The intended use for the eCascadia was hauling port shipments and distribution in regional areas.
The smaller, medium-duty eM2, is what you typically see being used as a Penske moving truck, or transporting food and beverages for local distribution. The eM2 has a gross weight rating of 26,000 pounds and peaks at 480 horsepower. It has a range of 230 miles using a 352 kWh battery pack, and one-hour charging can provide 184 miles of range, or 80 percent battery life.
Achieving 300,000 zero-emission miles means the next goal is to reach one million and keep going after that. One of the supporters of the Freightliner Innovation Fleet is South Coast Air Quality Management District. It focuses on improving the air quality in Southern California’s South Coast Basin and partially funded the Innovation Fleet. Freightliner plans to start production on the eCascadia and eM2 series as early as mid-2022.
Considering these trucks were introduced in 2018, it is impressive to see how far they have progressed in two years. Have you seen one on the road yet?