DTNA, Penske & NFI in EV Venture

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) said that Penske Truck Leasing and NFI have agreed to partner in operating the Freightliner Electric Innovation Fleet of eCascadia heavy-duty trucks and eM2 106 medium-duty trucks.

NFI, Cherry Hill, N.J.,  is a $2.0 billion integrated North American supply chain solutions provider. NFI’s dedicated and drayage fleet consists of over 4000 tractors and 8900 trailers.

Starting late this year, Penske will begin taking delivery of 10 eCascadias and 10 eM2s for use in California and the Pacific Northwest, while 10 eCascadias will begin being delivered to NFI for drayage activities from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to warehouses in California’s Inland Empire. Additionally, DTNA plans to operate electric trucks within its own Product Validation Engineering (PVE) test fleet in Oregon to further expedite research and development of the technology.

At start of series production, the eCascadia will have up to 730 peak hp. The batteries provide 550 kWh usable capacity, a range of up to 250 miles and have the ability to charge up to 80 percent (providing a range of 200 miles) in about 90 minutes. The Class 8 tractor is designed for local and regional distribution and drayage. The eM2 truck will initially have up to 480 peak hp. The batteries provide 325 kWh of usable capacity, a range of up to 230 miles and have the ability to charge up to 80 percent (providing a range of 184 miles) in about 60 minutes. The eM2 is Freightliner’s electrified solution for local distribution, pickup and delivery, food and beverage delivery, and last-mile logistics applications.

DTNA said the move is the next phase of a process that DTNA is doing to actively involve customers in the development of commercial electric vehicles to meet valid target applications.

“Freightliner is excited to be working with Penske and NFI on this critical learning process as we further develop and refine our commercial electric vehicle technology. Running multiple trucks in real-world applications will provide better insights for our engineers into the requirements of integrating electric commercial vehicles into fleet operations,” said Roger Nielsen, president and chief executive officer of DTNA. “We are partnering with these two customers for this phase of the co-creation process because they have use cases that closely fit the target applications we have identified.”

Additionally, in preparation for the start of production in 2021, DTNA announced the formation of an Electric Vehicle Council. The council will prepare customers, with viable use cases, in evaluating and integrating commercial electric vehicle solutions into their operations. Technical information from the Freightliner Electric Innovation Fleet and test fleet will be shared with the customer base in this forum.

As testing progresses, DTNA said the Electric Vehicle Council will discuss planned product offerings to gather feedback as the OEM moves towards commercialization of electrified trucks. DTNA plans to offer customers consulting services to assist with site selection based on truck applications, available government incentives, infrastructure deployment and route identification as part of a preliminary review prior to commercial electric vehicle business proposals.