Leading by example: Fully electric Freightliner eCascadia and eM2 launched

During today’s Capital Market & Technology Days in Portland, Oregon, Daimler Trucks presented two new, fully-electric trucks from Freightliner, its leading U.S. truck brand. The world’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer presented the new Freightliner eCascadia, a heavy-duty electric truck for long-distance operations (>15 t GVW) and a fully-electric variant of the Freightliner eM2 106 to cover the medium segment (9 to 12 t GVW).

This my friends, tells me how serious we are when it comes to transform our industry because I truly believe that commercial vehicles will set the tone for this process. It’s fair to say that the trucking industry and logistics are the backbone of our societies, therefore it’s in my humble opinion crucial to lead by example. To show what’s possible and to give an outlook on the future of commercial vehicles. But make no mistake: this isn’t about showing off a bunch of computer generated renders or one or two prototypes. This is about launching a clear roadmap together with our customers. Change can’t be done by an OEM alone. It’s about being part of a team in which all its members are joining forces to share their specific needs and experiences.

As it’s already the case with the new FUSO eCanter and the Mercedes-Benz eActros it is the company’s objective to gain experience in eTrucks by working together with customers to establish how electric trucks can be efficiently deployed in day-to-day transport operations.

With the two e-trucks from Freightliner, the Mercedes-Benz eActros, the FUSO eCanter, the fully-electric Mercedes-Benz Citaro city bus and the Thomas Built Saf-T Liner C2 Jouley school bus , Daimler Trucks & Buses already has the broadest portfolio of fully-electric commercial vehicles to be found anywhere. And it’s fair to say that I’m immensely proud of this development. This is no bragging about what you have achieved, this is about showing a clear roadmap for the future. And I think this is exactly what Martin Daum, member of the Daimler Board of Management for Trucks and Buses, stated:

“We are the undisputed global leader of the trucking industry and we intend to remain in that position with electric trucks and buses. We were first-movers on electric trucks and strive to set the standard in each relevant segment. With the formation of our new global E-Mobility Group, we will maximize the impact of our investments in this key strategic technology. Thus, we can pursue the best solutions in batteries, charging solutions and energy management.”

New global E-Mobility Group established

Yes, e-mobility must be cost-effective. Both for the customer and for the manufacturer. To lead the transport sector into an emission-free future, electric mobility has to be one of the fundamental innovation drivers in the commercial vehicle industry.

To define the strategy for electric components, complete electric vehicles, and develop a standardized, global electric architecture similar to Daimler Truck’s global platform strategy for conventional engines and drive components, we established the new E-Mobility Group (EMG) and announced Gesa Reimelt as the new head of this cross-divisional organization. In this function she will report to Dr. Frank Reintjes, Head of Global Powertrain and Manufacturing Engineering at Daimler Trucks.

“We expect increasing demand for electric trucks and buses, and are also receiving these signals from our customers. Only manufacturers who lead the field in both conventional drive systems and electric drive systems are able to offer convincing solutions, technically and business-wise. With regard to conventional powertrains, we have always benefited from our worldwide platform strategy. We will also be taking this approach for electric drive systems in the future. To this end, we are establishing the E-Mobility Group in which our experts from all functions around the world will work together on the best e-systems”, said Frank Reintjes, member of the Divisional Board of Management, Daimler Trucks & Buses responsible for Global Powertrain and Manufacturing Engineering.

Freightliner eCascadia and eM2 for the NAFTA region

But let’s go back to these two fully-electric trucks we just announced. I guess you guys are eager to get to know more about the specifications.

The Freightliner eCascadia is based on the Cascadia, the most successful heavy-duty long-distance truck (class 8) in the North American market.
730 hp is almost silently generated under the characteristically long, U.S.-style hood. At 550 kWh, its batteries provide enough energy for a range of up to 400 km (250 miles), and can be recharged to around 80 percent within 90 minutes to cover a further 320 km (200 miles).

The Freightliner eM2106 is intended for local distribution operations and last-mile delivery services. The batteries of the new electric version provide 325 KWh for up to 480 hp. The range of the eM2 is around 370 km (230 miles). The batteries can be recharged to around 80 percent within 60 minutes, sufficient for a range of around 300 km (184 miles).

And as I already mentioned before, this is all about teaming up with our customers and developing even better platforms and products. Therefore a total of around 30 units of these models will go to the first customers in North-America by the end of this year. This innovation fleet helps Daimler Trucks North-America to work with transport companies in day-to-day operations to find out more about transport assignments for emission-free trucks.

First move the world

To wrap up this exciting CMD-event in Portland I would like to quote our CEO Dieter Zetsche:

First Move the World means we strive to create progress – to take bold steps and make a positive impact. That’s why we’re so enthusiastic about the opportunities offered by connectivity. That’s why we want to be pioneers in the field of autonomous driving. That’s why we are passionately promoting new mobility services. And that’s why we are forging ahead with electric mobility.

I think our Truck division made crystal-clear that they fundamentally live our purpose.

“The times they are changing” isn’t only one of my favorite Bob Dylan songs, it’s the soundtrack for the future of mobility, transport and logistics.

Sascha Pallenberg took on the newly created position Head of Digital Content at Daimler’s Communications unit last February. An experienced online editor, he focuses on creating content at the interface between the automotive sector and the IT industry for Daimler online media.