Making good on its promise to put an electric commercial truck in customer hands in 2018, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) on Thursday delivered the first vehicle in its Freightliner Electric Innovation Fleet – a Freightliner eM2 – to Penske Truck Leasing.
This delivery is a milestone in the real-world application of battery-electric commercial vehicles, as well as an important step towards emissions-free mobility, according to DTNA. Also noteworthy, the introduction of the eM2 into Penske’s fleet is a first in DTNA’s “co-creation” approach with customers as it co-develops technology to shape the future of transportation.
In June, Daimler executives presented the eM2 and the Freightliner eCascadia to investment analysts and business media, and announced plans to deliver an Electric Innovation Fleet of 30 vehicles to customers this year for further testing under real-world operating conditions.
In Thursday’s ceremony, Roger Nielsen, president and CEO of DTNA, handed over the eM2 key to Brian Hard, president and CEO of Penske Truck Leasing, during an event in Carson, CA.
“With increased hauling demands and regulatory pressures, combined with ongoing concerns over energy resource depletion, it is more important than ever that DTNA continues to rigorously test and research electric vehicle solutions together with our customers,” said Nielsen. “Electric commercial vehicles present a real opportunity to advance the ideal of emissions-free mobility while improving our customers’ real cost of ownership (RCO).”
The eM2 has up to 480 peak horsepower. The batteries provide 325 Kwh of usable capacity, a range of up to 230 miles and can charge up to 80% (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.
“Penske is honored to be the first company to put this new medium-duty electric truck into service,” said Hard. “I commend and thank Roger Nielsen and his team at Daimler Trucks North America for their outstanding collaboration and spirit of co-creation with us over the last nine months to bring this innovative technology to market. Penske is committed to providing the most effective vehicle technologies to our customers and driving innovation and sustainability when it comes to mobility.”
As the first step in its infrastructure deployment, Penske Truck Leasing will install 20 high-power charging stations across five of its California locations starting this month. Next year, Penske will put an additional nine medium-duty electric eM2 trucks and 10 heavy-duty eCascadia electric trucks into targeted service in California and the Pacific Northwest. Penske will place the electric vehicles into service within its expansive logistics, truck leasing and truck rental fleets.
Also participating in the ceremony was Judy Mitchell, a governing board member at the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), which focuses on improving air quality in the South Coast Basin. The Freightliner Electric Innovation Fleet is partially funded with a nearly $16 million grant from SCAQMD. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach also contributed to the grant.
“SCAQMD is using every tool in its tool box to bring cleaner and more efficient technology to the marketplace to reduce harmful mobile and stationary source emissions to our region,” said SCAQMD Governing Board Member Judy Mitchell. “SCAQMD is proud to be a part of this innovative and ground-breaking project and we look forward to seeing some positive results from these efforts in the coming year.”
Following the ceremony, the keys to the eM2 were turned over to Santa Claus to make a holiday delivery of native plant seedlings to help restore communities that continue to suffer from devastating wildfire damage. Along with the seedling delivery, DTNA and Penske Truck Leasing made a joint $50,000 donation to the TreePeople, a local non-profit organization that plants and cares for trees throughout Los Angeles County and nearby mountain forests.
“Trees truly make Los Angeles livable,” said Cindy Montañez, CEO of TreePeople. “Through the generosity of Daimler Trucks North America and Penske Truck Leasing, we can create climate-resilient neighborhoods lined with trees, which produce healthy, clean air.”