Trucking and logistics service provider Schneider will test an electric truck from Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) in order to learn real-world lessons about the new technology and to assist in the industry’s large-scale deployment of electric trucks, the company said today.
Beginning later this summer and continuing through summer 2021, Schneider will participate in the all-electric Freightliner Customer Experience (CX) Fleet, a part of DTNA’s ongoing initiative to engage customers in the commercial electric vehicle development process by deploying trucks in realistic applications.
Green Bay, Wisconsin-based Schneider will test the eCascadia, a Class 8 tractor, to detect and address potential challenges to widespread use of commercial battery electric vehicles. The company will then provide feedback to DTNA about processes such as: the best type of mode, freight characteristics, and areas of operation for the vehicle’s charge range; the charging requirements to help maximize the duty cycle; and facility modifications needed to accommodate electric trucks.
“From a driver’s perspective, they’ll experience a great ride,” Jake VandeLoo, vice president of equipment engineering at Schneider, said in a release. “The truck is very quiet with little to no vibration, and a straight acceleration means there’s no real loss of power or torque. The overall feel is very smooth.”
Schneider’s eCascadia pilot comes amidst a flurry of other recent recents for the model, which Daimler says can reduce a fleet’s carbon footprint by offering zero tailpipe emissions while boasting a driving range of up to 250 miles—designed for local and regional distribution and drayage tasks—and the ability to recharge as much as 80% of its 525-horsepower engine in just 90 minutes.
In August, Lowell, Arkansas-based J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. said it had completed its first delivery using the Freightliner eCascadia for a 120-mile intermodal haul for Walmart. J.B. Hunt will now integrate the eCascadia with its day-to-day fleet operations in Los Angeles for a a three-month testing phase.
And in July, Reading, Pennsylvania-based Penske Truck Leasing—another member of Daimler’s testing team—added another battery electric Freightliner eM2 to its electric vehicle program, to be used by EnerSys, a provider of stored energy solutions for industrial applications.
Some of the rising adoption of electric trucks is being pushed by a recent California initiative to require zero-emission trucks throughout the state by 2045. To support that expansion of battery-driven vehicles, investment is also rising in the charging infrastructure needed to recharge those power cells.
Also in August, Penske opened its sixth heavy-duty electric vehicle charging station in Southern California. The Ontario, California, site uses a battery energy storage system manufactured by Fluence Energy LLC, a Siemens and AES Company, which is designed to offset demand on the electricity grid during peak charging times. "With the recent ruling that all new trucks sold in California should be zero-emissions by 2045, this partnership represents our commitment to help Penske and the state meet its goals of electrifying transportation," John DeBoer, head of Siemens eMobility solutions and future grid business in North America, said in a release. "Our focus on plug to grid solutions including the Maxx HP charging stations and Fluence battery storage will help Penske lower emissions and increase resiliency."
At the same time, a number of other electric truck manufacturers have been joining the market, supported by rising commercial orders.
In August, Nikola Corp. announced it had booked orders for a minimum of 2,500 electrified garbage collection trucks—expandable up to 5,000 units—from Phoenix, Arizona-based Republic Services, the second-largest recycling and solid waste provider in the U.S. That order is set to begin full production deliveries in 2023 with on-road testing likely to begin in early 2022. Nikola says the vehicles will run up to 150 miles on a single charge while outperforming diesel or natural gas options in horsepower and torque, and supporting quieter and emission-free refuse collection.
That same month, Firefly Transportation Services (Firefly TS) said it has partnered with Kansas City-based electric vehicle manufacturer Orange EV to deliver the all new T-Series Tandem (TST) pure-electric terminal truck to a client in the Chicagoland area. That application focuses on yard service and short-haul shuttling with terminal trucks, also known as yard trucks, spotters, or hostlers. Orange EV’s T-Series Tandem 6x2 is designed to operate both in private yards and public roads, legally transporting loads up to 81,000 pounds.
And in July, Loveland, Ohio-based Workhorse Group Inc. received an order for 20 of its all-electric C-1000 delivery vehicles from the Cincinnati-based trucking startup eTrucks.
“Joining the Freightliner CX Fleet is a great opportunity to flex both of those muscles and help lead the industry in transitioning to more sustainable #transportation options," said Jake VandeLoo, vice president of equipment #engineering. https://t.co/FuugOhqQxO#Sustainability pic.twitter.com/95fJyGRKbe— Schneider (@WeAreSchneider) August 26, 2020
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