In case you missed the live stream of last week’s announcement, Daimler Trucks North America (parent company of Freightliner) had some electrifying news! With the showcasing of several electric models on stage, DTNA upped the ante on the future of electrification, showing that they had been researching the future of electrification as well. Although start-ups like Tesla and Thor had been making it known that they were trying to advance the future of electric powertrains in the alternative fuel sector of heavy-duty trucking, DTNA had remained relatively quiet up until their announcement this past week.
I have previously spent time in the booth at ACT Expo with “Jouley”, their Thomas Built Buses Saf-T-Liner all-electric school bus, but was excited to see the sister to my own diesel New Cascadia take center stage in an electric form for the live feed of the announcement. With an eye-catching set of grill lights and stealth approach, the eCascadia slid into the room with its matching trailer to steal away the breath of all in attendance. I got goosebumps watching the live Facebook feed, secretly hoping that I may have a slim change to pilot this truck and see what it is like to drive this silent beast of Freightliner’s one day!
Not only did they cover the bus and heavy-duty truck sector, but DTNA also showcased the new eM2 delivery truck. When I saw the new eCascadia my mind began to race, as I quickly started to do the math in my head of how I might be able to incorporate one into my operation. To tell the truth, with the emission laws here in California becoming evermore stringent, tightening up my operational area to a radius fitting for the new eCascadia would be quite easy and make great sense. Already being on an operational radius of 250 miles from Southern California (including Las Vegas), I would love to give this truck a whirl to see what it could do in my operation and know it will only advance more with technology to come.
Having extensive experience with heavy-duty CNG trucks, I know well enough that the success of any new technology depends largely on the fuel infrastructure. I am anxious to see what investments will be made by DTNA and other major players touting electric trucks in the arena of infrastructure, not only for the large carriers that will no doubt pilot the first production models, but also for the small fleets and possibly independents that try and take on this clean truck technology when it begins to flourish. I am hinged on the word from DTNA and Freightliner to see what the timeframes for the new eCascadia production will be and really hope I get the chance to sit in the driver’s seat and see what this baby is really like!