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eCascadia Photo: Neil Abt/Fleet Owner
DTNA President and CEO Roger Nielsen poses with the two all-electric Freightliner trucks in June.

Daimler unveils two all-electric Freightliner trucks

Company also says it is creating a new automated truck development center in Oregon

PORTLAND, OR. Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) unveiled on June 6 what President and CEO Roger Nielsen said will be the “broadest [electric] truck fleet in North America by 2021.”

The unveiling of the Freightliner eCascadia heavy-duty truck and Freightliner eM2 medium-duty model took place on the same day DTNA announced the creation of the Automated Truck Research and Development Center in Portland.

Electric mobility is an “important part of the company for the future,” said Martin Daum, president of Daimler’s global truck and bus unit.

“We have decades of experience in successfully producing durable commercial vehicles in high volumes that stand up to the demands our customers place on them," Nielsen said. "We now bring this unmatched experience and expertise to the electric truck category.” 

Photo: Neil Abt/Fleet Owner

A view of the eCascadia, which was unveiled on June 6.

Nielsen, who rolled up to the press conference in an all-electric Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley school bus manufactured by Daimler’s Thomas Built Buses unit, noted that “battery technology is catching up to our expectations.” That bus is slated to begin limited production in 2019 and will join the Fuso eCanter, a fully electric light-duty truck.

He then introduced the eCascadia, which he said can offer a range of 250 miles, and be recharged up to 80% of capacity in 90 minutes, offering an additional 200 miles of driving. The eCascadia has up to 730 peak horsepower, and the batteries provide 550 Kwh usable capacity.

Immediately after, the eM2 was debuted, which offers a 230-mile range and ability to recharge to 80% in 60 minutes, providing drivers another 180 miles. It has up to 480 peak horsepower.

Photo: Daimler Trucks North America

DTNA's expanding electric truck lineup includes (from left) the Freightliner eM2 and eCascadia, Thomas Built Buses Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley, and FUSO eCanter. The eM2 is designed for local distribution, pickup and delivery, food and beverage delivery, and last-mile logistics applications, while the Class 8 eCascadia is aimed at local and regional distribution and drayage.

Nielsen stated the vehicles will be in “serious production in the next two-to-three years.” In the meantime, DTNA in 2018 will roll out the “Freightliner Electric Innovation Fleet,” which includes delivery of the first 30 eCascadias and eM2s to “customers hauling real freight,” Nielsen added. 

Meanwhile, Daimler said the automated truck center would be built on the grounds of the company’s existing headquarters in Portland. Engineers will work in close coordination with colleagues in Germany and India.

As part of the day’s events, DTNA showcased a series of demonstrations, including automatic emergency braking of a two-truck platoon.


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