Daimler Truck North America's eM2, the fully battery electric version of the company’s successful M2 106 medium-duty chassis, is going into series production.
The company is now taking orders for the Class 6/7 eM2, with full production slated to begin in the fall of 2023 at its Portland, Oregon, truck manufacturing plant.
The company also unveiled its first all-electric vocational chassis. Dubbed the innovation eM2, the goal is to get the truck into customers’ hands to learn from their experiences with vocational applications.
“We've had the eCascadia in production since last year; it's being delivered to fleets across the country as we speak. And today we are very pleased to unveil the next newest member of the family, the eM2 on Highway,” said Rakesh Aneja, Daimler’s vice president and chief of eMobility, and a press event ahead of the opening of ACT Expo in Anaheim, California.
“The eM2 benefits from everything we learned with the eCascadia from a development and validation perspective, as well as summer and winter testing, and the durability tests on generation-one.”
"Expanding our electric product portfolio with the eM2 marks another historic moment for our customers and the industry on our joint journey to zero emissions," said David Carson, senior vice president, sales and marketing, Daimler. "With its versatility, the eM2 will be the perfect fit for pick-up and delivery customers who require an adaptable electric solution. Our vocational innovation vehicles are designed to set the stage to expand eM2 coverage into additional customer applications in the future."
All Battery, All the Time
The eM2 features a proprietary, fully integrated, battery-electric Detroit ePowertrain, including Detroit eAxles and batteries.
“By integrating the motor and a two-speed transmission into the axle versus using a central motor, we're able to save weight and improve efficiency by eliminating the drive line,” said Katie Rabideau, Daimler’s eMobility product marketing manager. “By locating the motor in the center of the axle, we can still use industry-standard wheel ends and braking systems, and the wheels and tires all can be shared across any diesel vehicle in the fleet.”
Multiple battery size options are available, allowing customers to find the right balance between range/runtime and price. The Class 6 version comes with a single motor providing up to 190 continuous hp. It’s offered with a 194-kWh battery with a typical range of 180 miles on a full charge. The dual-motor on the Class 7 version provides up to 255 continuous hp from a 291-kWh battery with a typical range of 250 miles.
The eM2 will initially be available configured for a 26-foot body for stake, flat deck dry box, or refrigerated box operations. For refrigerated operators, an electric power takeoff (ePTO) option is available, enabling a choice of refrigeration units that can run on energy from the vehicle's high-voltage battery.
Safety & Connectivity
The eM2 comes standard with the Detroit Assurance suite of safety systems, including Active Brake Assist 5.0, Adaptive Cruise Control to 0 mph, and lane departure warning. Additional standard safety features include:
- Tailgate warning.
- Intelligent high-beam headlights.
- Automatic wipers/headlamps.
- Side guard assist side-swipe collision warning.
It’s configured with a proprietary battery side impact guard to safeguard the battery in the event of a collision.
Fleet managers will appreciate the Detroit Connect connected vehicle offering, which offers new eServices and provides charging information and vehicle health data in real time. Managers can monitor battery health and state of charge for multiple units in real time and collect data for post-trip analysis reports. This can help drivers maximize energy efficiency and extend battery lifespan and trip range, making the transition to electric easy for drivers.
Inside the cab, drivers will find a wrap-around dash with two glass panel displays rather than the dated analog gauges. The A-panel display is fully customizable for the driver and includes all the information related to the operation of the vehicle such as the speedometer and a state of charge indicator.
The B panel includes a touchscreen display with infotainment and navigation information and information on the vehicle charging system. The automotive-style steering wheel puts a host of other controls at the driver's fingertips.
Built on the popular medium-duty platform and co-created with customers to meet the needs of real-world fleets, the eM2 is built and tested to the same rigorous standards as all Freightliner trucks. The eM2 underwent extensive summer and winter testing as well as rough road and crash tests to be able to operate under various conditions and temperatures.
Along with the eCascadia, the eM2 also accumulated more than 1.5 million test miles in customer innovation and experience fleets driven in a variety of real-world applications. These customer trials transformed the testing process by collecting real-world vehicle performance experience, while also providing those companies a chance to test the integration of battery electric trucks into their own fleets.
Expanding Battery Electric to Vocational Trucks
Continuing its effort to gain real-world experiences, DTNA will begin running an eM2 vocational innovation program with leaders in the truck equipment manufacturing industry and their customers to focus on providing zero-emission solutions for the unique requirements of vocational customers and applications.
This program particularly targets the utility, sweeper, dump, towing and recovery, and refuse segments and will be packaged and designed for maximum frame space utilization with minimal impact on upfit, especially in the utility segment.
“What's unique about vocational applications is very rarely does Daimler build a truck in the vocational space with which it doesn't have to partner with someone else that puts equipment on the back of that truck,” said Brian Daniels, Daimler’s vice president of vocational national accounts. “It’s important that we collaborate with our partners to bring the right solution to market, one that is packaging friendly and integration friendly for our truck manufacturer partners.”
For example, Daniels says the placement of the batteries, with already limited frame space, can make the difference in where the bodybuilder places their equipment.
As engineers expose the eM2 to vocational customers, they’ll start with a slightly different spec from the P&D version of the truck. In vocational innovation trim, it’ll come with up to 330 kWh of usable battery capacity with a target range of 150 miles range, depending on the application. It will be offered with wheelbases between 155 and 220 inches. Most significantly, it will have just a 10-inch back-of-cab protrusion space for the battery.
It will also support both electric and mechanical ePTO options for hydraulic and battery-powered body equipment using the vehicle’s HV battery.
Customer Support for Early Adopters
Having worked with many Freightliner customers over the last several years to transition their commercial trucking fleets to electric, a team of experts, Detroit eConsultants, are able to connect the dots for customers including right-sizing infrastructure, choosing ideal chargers, navigating rebates and incentives, assisting with site selection, providing connectivity insights, and offering photovoltaic and energy storage options, and more.
They also introduce customers to the comprehensive line of Detroit eFill Chargers, evaluate duty cycles, and help identify ways to put eM2 trucks to work efficiently.
Detroit’s Charger Management System provides fleet managers with the insights to understand their fleets’ energy consumption patterns and create a charging schedule that reduces the cost per mile.
With over 90% of the Freightliner dealer base having completed a proprietary EV Masters Sales training course, dealers are fully equipped to answer EV questions and evaluate the best use cases for eCascadia and eM2 applications, as well as identify potentially relevant EV rebates in a specialized database.
“We are trying to upend you know, a single source energy that we use for 100 years, and we just don't want to hand our customers an electric or hydrogen-powered truck and say, okay, there you go, have a nice day, the rest is up to you,” says Aneja. “We want to support them in every step of the ecosystem and every step of the journey because this is a new topic for all of us.”
Daimler has already trained over 1,400 dealership technicians in high-voltage safety as dealers proactively prepare to service eCascadia and eM2. This is supported by DTNA’s fleet and field service managers who are working hand-in-hand with customers and network partners. DTNA Parts is ramping up stock on eMobility components, leveraging its 10 parts distribution centers across North America, with a dedicated delivery service that averages 12-hour delivery on 90 percent of parts ordered.
On the funding side, where private options are needed to support commercial EV deployments, Daimler Truck Financial offers a full suite of financing products specifically tailored to both vehicles and charging infrastructure, including lease and retail loan options, customer revolving lines of credit, floorplan financing, and construction and real estate loans.
The lease structure allows for a decrease in the initial up-front investment, making electric vehicles more accessible for fleets of all sizes, and helps to control costs moving into electric with predictable payments and the usual lease-related backend risk terms and conditions.
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