Freightliner all-electric eCascadia enters series production

By Becky Schultz27 May 2022

The eCascadia utilizes the ePowertrain, which incorporates eAxles and batteries that work seamlessly with the vehicle’s connectivity and safety systems. (Photo: Daimler Trucks North America)

Earlier this month, Daimler Truck North America (DTNA) and its Freightliner brand unveiled the all-electric eCascadia Class 8 truck that will enter series production in North America in 2022, with deliveries to customers also set to begin this year.

The new battery-electric model is a zero-emissions version of the popular Cascadia tractor. Featuring up to an 82000-lb. max gross combination weight (GCW), the electric model is rated at 320 to 470 hp and has a typical range of 230 miles (370 km), depending on vehicle configuration. Multiple battery options are available, with a maximum capacity of nearly 440 kWh. A recharge of 80% is achievable in approximately 90 minutes.

Three battery options allow for a range of sizes and average, zero-to-full charging times. (Photo: Daimler Trucks North America)

As part of its global platform strategy, DTNA is deploying its ePowertrain as a uniform basic architecture for all-electric trucks, including the eCascadia. Developed in-house in connection with DTNA’s Detroit brand, the ePowertrain incorporates eAxles and batteries that work seamlessly with the vehicle’s connectivity and safety systems.

The eAxle is integrated with an electric motor, transmission and specialized electronics within a compact unit that can directly and efficiently power the truck’s wheels. It comes with a dual motor (470 hp; 23000 lb.-ft. max torque) or a single motor (320 hp; 11500 lb.-ft. max torque). Customers can also choose between three battery options for a range of sizes and average, zero-to-full charging times, including 194 kWh (one and a half to three hours), 291 kWh (two to four hours) and 438 kWh (two to six hours).

Since 2018, the eCascadia has undergone over 1 million miles of testing in daily customer operations in a range of applications, including local delivery, food distribution and parcel delivery. The vehicle along with the medium-duty eM2 compromise 40-plus battery electric models in the Freightliner Electric Innovation and Customer Experience (CX) Fleets that have been placed in the hands of almost 50 customers, including leading U.S. fleets such as Penske Truck Leasing, NFI, Knight-Swift, Schneider, Ryder, J.B. Hunt and others.

The typical 230-mile range makes the eCascadia suited for short-haul routes that allow for depot-based charging. (Photo: Daimler Trucks North America)

The result, says Freightliner, is a powerful and efficient battery electric truck with multiple battery and drive axle options. The eCascadia’s typical range of 230 miles makes it especially suited for short-haul routes that allow for depot-based charging, such as last-mile logistics, local and regional distribution and warehouse to warehouse applications.

To that end, DTNA recently announced that Sysco Corp., a major U.S. food service distribution company that participated in testing the eCascadia, has signed a Letter of Intent to acquire nearly 800 of the eCascadia tractors by 2026.

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