The launch of electric truck models in recent years has generated a lot of headlines, but the technology has been slow to get off the ground. As a case in point, electric car manufacturer Tesla last spring announced that it was delaying production of its Tesla Semi, originally expected to begin in 2019, to sometime this year.
But that doesn't mean heavy-duty electric trucks aren't out on the road these days. Penske Logistics said last month that it has already logged more than 10,000 over-the-road miles using two Freightliner eCascadia-model electric trucks. Penske has been using the vehicles to make daily store deliveries in Southern California for a restaurant chain since late summer.
"For a fleet that runs trucks 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, 10,000 miles may not seem like a milestone, but we believe we are the first fleet in the United States to make daily store deliveries using battery electric heavy-duty tractors for regional distribution," Penske Logistics President Marc Althen said in a release.
Penske took delivery of its first Freightliner eCascadia in August 2019 and plans to deploy 10 eCascadias in its Southern California operations. The fleet is supported by a network of heavy-duty electric-vehicle charging stations at five Penske Truck Leasing facilities in the region.
The eCascadia trucks themselves are part of Freightliner's Electric Innovation Fleet, a project intended to test the integration of battery electric trucks in large-scale fleet operations, supported by a partnership between Daimler Trucks North America and California's South Coast Air Quality Management District.