After more than a million miles of testing electric trucks in customer fleets, Freightliner Trucks unveiled its series-production eCascadia battery-electric Class 8 truck at ACT Expo in Long Beach, California, May 9.
With the start of series production and customer deliveries beginning in 2022, the new battery-electric eCascadia and its dedicated services bring Daimler Trucks North America and its customers one step further towards CO2-neutral transportation, the company said in a news release.
The eCascadia offers multiple battery and drive axle options, with a maximum capacity of almost 440 kWh2 with 320-470 hp. It offers a typical range of 230 miles (depending on vehicle configurations). It can recharge 80% in approximately 90 minutes.
Freighliner said the eCascadia is ideally suited for short-haul routes that allow for depot-based charging, such as last-mile logistics, local and regional distribution, drayage, and warehouse-to-warehouse applications. It is available with a single or tandem e-axle. The 116-inch day cab can handle up to 82,000 pounds maximum gross combination weight.
The in-house developed Detroit ePowertrain is designed for a full integration with the eCascadia for maximum power, increased driving dynamics, and driver comfort, all with zero emissions, according to the company.
The e-axle is an electric drivetrain component integrated with an electric motor, transmission and specialized electronics within a compact unit. Detroit’s ePowertrain provides two e-axle designs, including a dual motor with max torque of 23,000 lb-ft and max power of 395 hp, and a single motor featuring a max torque of 11,500 lb-ft and max power of 195 hp.
The Detroit ePowertrain offers three battery options for a range of sizes and average, zero-to-full charging times starting with 194 kWh (one and a half to three hours), 291 kWh (two to four hours), and 438 kWh (two to six hours). Detroit’s Li-Ion batteries enable the eCascadia to meet critical range targets without sacrificing payload, according to the company.
Because the Detroit ePowertrain produces less heat than a traditional diesel engine, temperature and packaging requirements for cooling are minimized. This allows the eCascadia to come with closed hood vents and a new grille, which reduces drag by forcing more air around the vehicle, as opposed to pulling it through the radiator. Reduced drag means longer range.
Additional aero improvements are available in the Aero-X package, standard on the 6x4 model, which includes front wheel well closeouts, air skirts under the high voltage battery impact protection panels, quarter fenders with aero spoilers, and drive wheel fairings.
Detroit Connect eServices
Detroit Connect eServices have been exclusively developed for eCascadia and offer features that help fleets maximize uptime, productivity, and profitability.
An in-house developed Charger Management System is integrated into the Detroit Connect portal. It provides reports about depot utilization, as well as data for grant compliance and Low Carbon Fuel Standard credit reporting. The system can save fleets money by using demand-response incentives from local utilities. Detroit’s CMS allows for staggered charging of multiple vehicles, charging during off-peak-demand hours, and partial charging. While optimized for use with Detroit eFill chargers, it is also compatible with other popular charger models.
The eRange prediction tool automatically calculates and displays range over the course of a proposed trip. To give the most accurate indication possible, the tool analyzes multiple data inputs, including vehicle parameters, load, weather, traffic, and road gradient. ERange Prediction allows for testing of “what-if” scenarios and performs analysis.
Battery health monitoring tracks and gives visibility into the eCascadia battery’s state-of-health percentage, state-of-charge percentage, remaining range miles, and charging status. Post-trip analysis gives actionable information to improve the eCascadia’s performance, utilization, and driver training. Based on actual trip data, users can visualize and quantify operational differences between trips. Outlying data is highlighted so managers can easily identify exceptional situations.
Initial release of the CMS solution will occur in the fourth quarter. Additional CMS features will be introduced in 2023.
Detroit Connect’s traditional features are also available on the new eCascadia, including remote updates to reduce the need to stop and physically connect the vehicle to initiate firmware updates. Remote updates allow users to update one or hundreds of trucks from a single location.
Detroit Assurance Safety Systems for Electric Trucks
The Freightliner eCascadia comes standard with Detroit Assurance with Active Brake Assist 5 (ABA 5).
The release of the series production eCascadia marks the debut of a new Detroit Assurance safety feature: Active Side Guard Assist. This engages at urban speeds (12 mph or less) to prevent the truck from making a right turn when a moving cyclist or pedestrian is detected on the passenger side of the truck. ASGA applies automatic braking along with visual and auditory warnings.
The eCascadia also will be the first version of the Cascadia to come standard with Active Lane Assist, which combines Level 2 automated driving with a suite of driver comfort features.
EConsulting Connects the Dots
To help make electrification for fleets approachable, Detroit eConsulting helps connect the dots for customers, including right-sizing infrastructure, choosing chargers, navigating rebates and incentives, site selection, connectivity insights, photovoltaic and energy storage options and more. The team has worked with nearly 40 Freightliner customers in the last several years.
Detroit eConsulting offers three packages: Baseline, Powerline, or Megaline. The top-tier Megaline package is recommended for large-scale electric truck deployments. Customers receive assistance with planning for charging infrastructure, solar panel, and stationary energy storage projects. The eConsulting team interfaces with local utilities on the customers’ behalf. Additional services include a comprehensive cost-benefit and route analysis, and assistance with capital and operating expenditure optimization.
Under the Powerline package, customers will find similar benefits to the Megaline package, without the support for distributed energy resources (for example: solar, storage, and others) or the interface to local utilities. The Baseline package is free to all purchasers of Freightliner electric trucks and includes best practices and dealership-level consultation. Services of the Megaline and Powerline packages are not dependent on purchases of a Freightliner truck.
Daimler Truck Financial Services USA plans to support Daimler Truck North America’s range of electric products with financing and leasing solutions that can be customized to meet each customer’s needs, including trucks and charging infrastructure.
Detroit eFill EV Chargers
The Detroit eFill line of electric commercial vehicle chargers provides an array of commercial charger options designed for seamless integration with the Detroit ePowertrain.
Detroit eFill chargers are designed to use the CCS1 standard, the most common charging standard in North America. The charger portfolio includes options for multiple needs, ranging from 60-240 kW all-in-one charging stations to scalable 360 kW power cabinets that break out to multiple dispensers. The eFill lineup will also soon include smaller, portable charging solutions for shop spaces and large-scale fleet-charging depots that can deliver up to 1.44 MW of charge power.
The first Detroit eFill chargers were deployed across California earlier this year by California Truck Centers.
Real-World EV Operations
Since 2018, Freightliner has deployed real electric trucks with real customers to run real freight in the real world covering a wide breadth of applications, including drayage and local delivery, food distribution, and parcel delivery.
The Freightliner Electric Innovation and Customer Experience (CX) Fleets put more than 40 battery-electric Freightliner eCascadias and eM2 trucks into the hands of almost 50 customers to accumulate experience while performing in commercial vehicle applications.
“All of our drivers who tested the eCascadia thoroughly enjoyed the experience,” said Rob Reich, executive vice president and chief administrative officer, Schneider. “We see great value in adding electric trucks to our fleet and are excited about taking the next step with DTNA.”
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