PORTLAND, OREGON. Freightliner Trucks premiered two fully electrified commercial vehicles, a Freightliner eCascadia and a Freightliner eM2 106, during the Daimler Trucks Capital Market and Technology Day on June 6. Freightliner plans to deliver an Electric Innovation Fleet of 30 vehicles to customers later this year for further testing under real-world operating conditions.
Both electrified Freightliner models are designed to fit specific applications, carefully identified through an extensive “co-creation process” with customers.
For the eCascadia, for instance, the focus is on port drayage and local and regional distribution. The eM2 is designed for local distribution, pickup and delivery, food and beverage delivery, and last-mile logistics applications.
The eCascadia uses wheel-end motors to produce up to 730 peak horsepower. The batteries provide 550 Kwh usable capacity, a range of up to 250 miles, and have the ability to charge up to 80% (providing a range of 200 miles) in about 90 minutes.
The eM2 has up to 480 peak horsepower. The batteries provide 325 Kwh of usable capacity, a range of up to 230 miles, and have the ability to charge up to 80% (providing a range of 184 miles) in about 60 minutes.
“The Freightliner eCascadia and eM2 are designed to meet customer needs for electrified commercial vehicles serving dedicated, predictable routes where the vast majority of daily runs fall between 45 and 150 miles,” said Roger Nielsen, president and chief executive officer of DTNA.
The Freightliner eCascadia with 80,000 lb. gross combined weight rating (GCWR) and eM2 with 26,000 lb. GCWR are part of Daimler Trucks’ global electrified truck initiative. The Mercedes-Benz eActros, with a range up to 124 miles and a 55,000 lb. GCWR, is now entering testing for distribution applications with customers in Europe, while the E-Fuso Vision One, a Class 8 concept truck in Japan with a range of 220 miles and a 51,000 lb. GCWR, gives an outlook on the electrification of the Fuso portfolio. The Fuso eCanter, a light-duty truck, is already in regular production as a fully electric truck from Daimler Trucks.
“Our primary goal at DTNA is bringing vehicles to market that are safe, reliable and efficient. Heavy-duty electric vehicles present the greatest engineering challenges, but they also are the best learning laboratories,” Nielsen said.
“DTNA is preparing to pivot our future business environment to bring e-mobility solutions into the realm of our core business,” he noted. “Battery technology is rapidly improving and bringing costs down and power density up. Now we see applications to develop use cases for electric vehicles that match the real cost of ownership with conventional powertrains.”
Leveraging Global Scale
Daimler emphasized that this rollout is part of a global effort, and in fact the goal is to develop a single proprietary electric system that will be used on its products around the world.
Saying that it aims to become “the undisputed number one when it comes to e-mobility,” Daimler said it has bundled all of its electric activities under a new organization for e-mobility: the E-Mobility Group (EMG).
EMG will define the strategy for everything from electrical components to completely electric vehicles for all brands and all business divisions, while also working to create a single global electric architecture.
EMG is globally structured, with employees working cross-functional in various locations throughout the company's worldwide development network, e.g. in Portland (U.S.), Stuttgart (Germany) and Kawasaki (Japan)
Daimler Trucks commercial electric vehicles breakthroughs already entering the market include:
- Thomas Built Buses Saf-T-Liner C2 electric school bus, Jouley, with a range of up to 100 miles that starts limited production in 2019
- More than 100 electric vehicles built by Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. in 2012 with supplier Electric Vehicles International (EVI) on the MT-55 walk-in van chassis are still on the roads today
- The Fuso eCanter, a fully electric Class 4 light-duty truck in regular production with electric urban delivery vehicles being delivered to various customers in North America, Asia and Europe
- The fully electric Mercedes-Benz Citaro is based on the global bestseller Mercedes-Benz Citaro, going into full production in late 2018
- The Mercedes-Benz eActros is a fully electrified heavy-duty distribution truck starting operations with initial first customers in the second half of 2018
Developing Charging Infrastructure
DTNA understands the success of electric commercial vehicles requires extensive knowledge and support on the infrastructure side, and is leading the initiative to develop a commercial vehicle charging infrastructure for North America.
Germany-based Daimler AG, DTNA’s parent, is a founding member of CharIN, the Charging Interface Initiative – an effort to develop a standard charging system for battery-powered vehicles. DTNA itself is heading a CharIN taskforce to develop a new electric commercial vehicle charging standard globally, collaborating with utilities and service providers.
While the Society of Automotive Engineers recently released charging recommendations for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, Andreas Juretzka, chief engineer for Daimler’s e-mobility efforts, told HDT that they are concerned that the SAE process may not move quickly enough. The trucks shown here to journalists and investors were equipped with European charging ports.
Stay tuned for more reports from HDT Editor in Chief Deborah Lockridge, who is covering this special event from Portland.