Daimler recently gave the keys to its first Freightliner eM2 medium-duty electric commercial truck to Penske Truck Leasing Corporation in Los Angeles, California.
This eM2 will be the first of ten that Freightliner plans to give to Penske, which will put the eM2 through real-world testing to find flaws in the truck's design prior to kickoff of its mass-production in 2021. Its gargantuan 325 kWh battery is good for an estimated range of 230 miles, making the eM2 ideal for short-haul trips. It can be recharged from empty to 80 percent in 60 minutes on a fast-charging feed of 150 kilowatts or more, and maximum pulling power totals 480 horses, though Daimler neglected to specify maximum axle torque output.
Following the eM2's family of ten will be a series of ten additional heavy-duty commercial truck prototypes, called the eCascadia, based on Freightliner's class eight, 80,000-pound gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) Cascadia. Its battery will be an even grander 550 kWh, which will give it an estimated range of 250 miles. 80 percent charge can be attained in 90 minutes on the same 150-kilowatt feed as the eM2, and peak output will reach 730 horsepower.
All 20 eM2s and eCascadias earmarked for testing by Penske in California are scheduled for delivery by the end of 2019. These models will be the first two electric trucks in Freightliner's planned lineup of 30 "innovation fleet" vehicles. Without any speed bumps, Freightliner hopes production of the eM2 and eCascadia can commence in 2021.
Freightliner's owner Daimler will offer a private demonstration of both these trucks and its other commercial vehicles at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on the eve of the 2019 Consumer Electronic Show (CES), which has become a popular venue for automakers to showcase their electric vehicles.
Courtesy of offerings by Freightliner among other companies, the selection of electric trucks on the market will begin to swell in 2019. Volvo reportedly aims to beat Freightliner to the punch with a launch of its own line of electric trucks in North America come 2020, but Tesla hopes to butt in first, targeting 2019 production for its own electric Semi.