First Two Customers Get Hands On Daimler BEV Truck

Customer trials of Daimler Trucks North America’s all-electric heavy haulage trucks have begun.

The automaker has announced that two Class 8 battery electric Freightliner eCascadias have been made available for selected customers to test following 18 months of development at its research and development center in Portland. The trucks are part of Freightliner’s Electric Innovation Fleet and built to test the integration of battery electric trucks into large-scale fleet operations.

The initial customer shipments are the first heavy-duty additions to the 30-vehicle Freightliner Innovation Fleet. Real-world use of the Innovation Fleet and continuing feedback from the members of the Freightliner Electric Vehicle Council will inform the final production versions of both the eCascadia and the medium-duty Freightliner eM2 in a process of co-creation. The council brings together 38 Freightliner customers to identify and address all potential hurdles to large-scale deployment of commercial battery electric vehicles. Issues at the forefront of the discussion include charging infrastructure, partnerships with other parties in the e-mobility value chain, vehicle specifications and vehicle use case.

Council members Penske Truck Leasing of Reading, Pennsylvania and NFI of Camden, New Jersey will be the first to test the new truck in real-world scenarios. The eCascadias are destined for the Southern California operations of both companies and will arrive later this month. Additional deliveries of the Freightliner Electric Innovation Fleet will continue throughout 2019.

Roger Nielsen, president and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America, said: “This milestone in electric is important as both today and tomorrow’s technology is progressing. Our purpose is resolute – we build for our customers. Our team is incredibly proud to be leading the way for the industry but prouder still to be working with our customers in a process of co-creation to make real electric trucks for real work in the real world.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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