Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) announced 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.
The move is the next phase of a co-creation process that DTNA is utilizing to actively involve customers in the development of commercial electric vehicles to meet the most valid target applications. 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.
“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. Both Penske and NFI are forward-thinking partners eager to take on the challenge, effort and investment that will be required during this important development phase.”
In preparation for the 2021 start of production, DTNA has also announced an Electric Vehicle Council. According to the company, the council will prepare customers, with viable use cases, in evaluating and integrating commercial electric vehicle solutions into their operations. Technical knowledge from the Freightliner Electric Innovation Fleet and test fleet will be shared with the customer base in this forum. As testing progresses, the DTNA Electric Vehicle Council will discuss planned product offerings to gather candid feedback as the OEM moves towards commercialization of electrified trucks. Through the EV Council, DTNA will work hand in hand with customers, establishing the necessary charging infrastructure, vehicle deployment and service support, the company says. DTNA says it 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.
“The DTNA approach to bring commercial electric vehicles to market is holistic. With the Freightliner Electric Innovation Fleet, we will be working, hands on with Penske and NFI. As a separate part of a co-creation process we will also launch the EV Council that emphasizes shared learning before we begin series vehicle production,” said Richard Howard, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Freightliner Trucks. “While heavy-duty electric vehicles present the greatest engineering challenges, we’re committed to a process that leads to series production vehicles that are safe, reliable and efficient. We don’t compromise on this key component of the Freightliner brand legacy. We’ve been successfully mass producing durable commercial vehicles for decades that stand up to the rigors of the road. Electric commercial vehicles present a real opportunity to reduce emissions and enhance our customers’ bottom lines through improved uptime and lower operating costs.”
“Penske is committed to bringing the most effective commercial vehicle technologies to our customers,” said Brian Hard, president and chief executive officer of Penske Truck Leasing. “We have had a long, collaborative relationship working with Daimler and its Freightliner brand. We are encouraged by the progress Daimler has made with their electric vehicle platforms for heavy-duty and medium-duty applications. We look forward to our continued cooperation and co-creation with Daimler on these electric vehicles as we operate them within our expansive logistics, truck leasing and rental fleets.”
“Innovation is what moves the world and business forward. At NFI, we value collaborating with other companies that share our commitment to developing new and better products and processes for our industry and the communities in which we operate. The eCascadia is just that,” said Sid Brown, chief executive officer of NFI. “Freightliner is known for bringing practical, transformative solutions to market. We’re proud to partner with them in development of the Freightliner Electric Innovation Fleet. We fully expect it to be successful and a significant benefit to an untold number of people and communities.”