DTNA Unveils Production-Ready eCascadia at ACT Expo

May 10, 2022

Ashley Wagener

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Freightliner Trucks, a division of Daimler Truck North America, has unveiled its production-ready eCascadia Class 8 electric truck, built on the best-selling heavy-duty truck platform in North America.

“The introduction of zero-emission trucks and all their needed support systems is truly a game changer,” said DTNA CEO John O’Leary. “By developing electric vehicles, investing in charging infrastructure, and offering eConsulting services, we are determined to do our part to make commercial transportation emission-free.”

The eCascadia is suited for short-haul routes that allow for depot-based charging, examples of which include last-mile logistics, local and regional distribution, drayage and warehouse-to-warehouse applications, the Portland, Ore.-based company said.

DTNA made the announcement at ACT Expo. Set for May 9-12, the alternative fuels show this year drew a record 8,000 attendees and about 200 exhibitors.

The truck maker said the eCascadia underwent extensive development and rigorous testing stretching to 2018 through several prototypes. Customer-tested trucks covered more than 1 million miles.

The production truck features multiple battery and drive-axle options, providing a typical range of 230 miles, depending on vehicle configuration. The tandem-drive model has a range of about 220 miles, while the single-drive long-range option can go about 230 miles on a charge. The single-drive model has a standard range of 155 miles.

The truck can be spec’d for 320 to 470 horsepower, and two battery capacities — 438 kWh for tandem and single-drive or 291 kWh solely for single-drive — are offered. The truck can recharge to up to 80% battery capacity in approximately 90 minutes, and is capable of a Gross Combination Weight of up to 82,000 pounds. A 166-inch day cab configuration is available for both single- and tandem-axle options.

The truck uses the proprietary Detroit ePowertrain, which produces less heat than a traditional combustion engine, so temperature and packaging requirements for cooling are minimized, the truck maker said. This allows the eCascadia to come with closed hood vents and a new grille, which reduces drag by forcing more air around the vehicle, as opposed to pulling it through the radiator.

The Detroit ePowertrain offers two eAxle designs; a dual motor setup offers maximum torque of 23,000 pound-feet and maximum power of 395 horsepower, and a single motor design with maximum torque of 11,500 pound-feet and maximum power of 195 horsepower.

The 291 kWh battery can charge from zero capacity to full in an average of two to four hours, while the 438 kWh batter can fully recharge in an average of two to six hours.

“We remain committed to being at the forefront of the electric vehicle movement and the eCascadia has been a terrific option for our customers ready to incorporate EVs into their fleets,” said Paul Rosa, senior vice president of procurement and fleet planning at Penske Truck Leasing. “We look forward to continuing to work with Daimler Truck to help our customers meet their sustainability goals now and in the future.”

A new Detroit Assurance safety feature debuting on the truck is Active Side Guard Assist, which engages at 12 mph or less. While the driver is still in control, the system mitigates the truck from making a right turn when a moving cyclist or pedestrian is detected on the passenger side. ASGA applies automatic braking along with visual and auditory warnings, and is designed for busy urban settings.

DTNA said real-world testing with fleets validated and reaffirmed many of the expected benefits of electric trucks, including reduced driver fatigue and minimal noise and vibration, and influenced the production version of the eCascadia.

The manufacturer announced earlier this year a future joint venture with NextEra Energy Resources and BlackRock Renewable Power to design, develop, install and operate a nationwide, high-performance charging network for medium- and heavy-duty battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The parties plan to build a network of charging sites on critical freight routes along the East and West coasts and in Texas by 2026, leveraging existing infrastructure and amenities while adding complementary greenfield sites to fulfill anticipated customer demand. The first phase is set to begin construction in 2023.

As for maintenance, Freightliner said the trucks can be serviced at nearly 500 of its dealerships. Regular maintenance items to be addressed every 12-48 months include the air compressor, oil and filter changes, low-voltage battery checks, high-voltage wiring checks, eAxle or drive motor lubrication and cooling circuit flushing.

“Our industry is faced with its biggest transformation ever, and we are determined to help our valued customers convert this challenge into an opportunity,” said Rakesh Aneja, DTNA vice president and chief of eMobility.

BY Roger Gilroy
May 10, 2022
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