Southern California Edison (SCE), the primary electricity supply company for much of southern California, recently welcomed a Freightliner eCascadia from the Freightliner Customer Experience (CX) Fleet to begin a 3-month testing trial of the battery-electric Class 8 truck.
“SCE’s testing of the eCascadia is a major step down the path of achieving our company’s fleet electrification goals,” said SCE principal manager of Fleet Asset Management Todd Carlson, who manages the company’s fleet of more than 6,200 vehicles.
SCE is the first utility to test an electric truck from Freightliner and will use the eCascadia for material transport, moving heavy equipment like transformers, wire reels and switch gears from an Irwindale, CA, warehouse to SCE service centers and storage yards. SCE’s parent company, Edison International, recently published the 2030 goal to electrify 30% of its medium-duty vehicles and pickup trucks and 8% of its heavy-duty trucks.
Freightliner’s CX Fleet is partially supported by a partnership between Daimler Trucks North America and the South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD) which focuses on improving air quality in large portions of Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, including the Coachella Valley.
“Projects like Freightliner’s CX Fleet are helping to demonstrate the viability of all-electric heavy-duty trucks and showing companies that zero-emission options will soon be here to meet their truck replacement needs,” said Wayne Nastri, South Coast AQMD’s Executive Officer. “These demonstrator fleets are a critical step for transitioning trucks to cleaner technologies and helping us to achieve our clean air goals for the South Coast Basin.”
When it enters series production in 2022, the eCascadia will be sold by Freightliner dealers like Velocity Truck Centers who operate seven new truck dealers in Southern California and support the Freightliner CX Fleet by providing vehicle service and fleet management.
“The future of zero-emission trucks is approaching quickly and Velocity is proud to lead the charge, along with our great customers, and our partners at Freightliner and Daimler Trucks North America,” said Scott Zeppenfeldt, Senior Vice President of Operations, Velocity Truck Centers. “While there are a lot of unknowns in transitioning to an electric fleet, supporting our customers in these types of projects are an integral step to starting the journey.”
Freightliner’s CX Fleet is comprised of eight early series development trucks meant to test the integration of battery-electric vehicles into large-scale fleet operations. Feedback from Freightliner customers will help fine-tune final driving parameters like battery management software. Early examples of customer-driven eCascadia design include charging port placement on the truck, human-machine interface (HMI) controls and more. To-date, a diverse array of commercial trucking fleets including the nation’s largest for-hire fleets, grocery distributors, and less-than-load carriers have participated in the CX Fleet, with more customers participating in advance of series production.
“It’s critical that we collaborate with customers across multiple segments to further our understanding of how commercial battery-electric trucks will be part of a long-term solution in CO₂-neutral transportation,” said Richard Howard, Senior Vice President, On-Highway Sales and Marketing, Daimler Trucks North America. “Our customers provide important, continuous feedback that contributes to our ongoing design and purposeful innovation of these trucks, and together we will lead the future.”