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October 8, 2021 1:15 PM, EDT

DTNA Reaches BEV Milestone at 1 Million Miles

Freightliner eCascadia eCascadia by Daimler Trucks North America

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Daimler Trucks North America announced a milestone for its medium- and heavy-duty battery-electric truck development program as participating fleets using 40 trucks reached a cumulative total of 1 million miles of real-world usage along the West Coast and Canada.

“We have reached a tipping point in our electrification journey,” Rakesh Aneja, chief of eMobility at DTNA, said in a release. “After a million miles of learning in close collaboration with our valued customers, we are ready to move from prototype to scale; from tens of customer experience trucks to hundreds of production units. We remain committed to continuously improve our vehicle technology, reduce cost of ownership, and support infrastructure development, the required trifecta for a successful electrification transformation.”

DTNA said it has gained “tremendous operational learnings” that it will apply to the production vehicles to be delivered to customers in late 2022 — from collecting driver feedback, comparing the relative impact of driver behavior, temperature, weather and weight between multiple fleets and duty cycle to assessing wear, testing charging equipment behavior, and readying the service network.

DTNA opened the order boards for the eCascadia and eM2 earlier this year.

“One lesson stands out in particular: the importance of regenerative braking to maximize range. Across the pilots, the average recuperation ratio was 20-25%, with some drivers achieving even up to 30%,” said Andreas Juretzka, head of electric mobility product development at DTNA.

Regenerative braking recovers some of the truck’s kinetic energy during braking and turns it into electricity to charge the battery, experts said.

DTNA BEV milestone

DTNA marks a milestone. (Daimler Trucks North America)

Juretzka added the testing showed powertrain and auxiliary components, including HVAC, thermal management and low voltage electrical, “are high performing and more than up to the job.”

Portland, Ore.-based DTNA said the fleets contributing to the development of its Freightliner Classes 6-8 trucks include: Penske Truck Leasing, NFI, Hub Group, Knight-Swift, Schneider, XPO, Ryder, J.B. Hunt and UPS — along with “specialized fleets” Loblaw Cos., Sysco, Southern California Edison, Fastenal, Temco Logistics, Bison Transport, Core-Mark, Costco Wholesalers, Iron Mountain Inc., KeHe Distributors, Mondelez International Inc., US Foods and Velocity Truck Rental & Leasing.

Schneider truck

Schneider contributed to the development of DTNA's Freightliner Classes 6-8 trucks. (Daimler Trucks North America)

The fleets are supported by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which focuses on improving air quality in the South Coast Basin of Southern California and partially funded the project.

Freightliner’s Electric Innovation Fleet began in 2018 with electric trucks running drayage and regional haul routes in Southern California with Penske and NFI. The Customer Experience Fleet followed in 2020 with additional vehicles, which have been rotating among various customers in both the U.S. and Canada for the past year.

DTNA noted its Detroit eConsulting team is available to help customers navigate some of the key challenges fleets will experience, including route assessment, coaching driver behavior, optimizing in-cab experience, and planning and installing charging equipment.

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