The hype surrounding zero-emission electric trucks is evolving into real-world results for two major freight haulers.
Penske Truck Leasing said Dec. 3 it was the first to cross the 10,000-mile threshold. NFI industries told FreightWaves on Dec. 5 it is approaching 14,000 miles on drayage runs between Chico, California, and the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.
Both companies are participating in the Freightliner Electric Innovation Fleet built to test the integration of battery-electric trucks into large-scale fleet operations. They received the trucks in late August.
Reading, Pennsylvania-based Penske is averaging 140-160 miles per shift on dedicated routes to an unidentified Southern California quick-service restaurant chain. It is using two battery-powered Freightliner eCascadias in a relay system to make the most of the available electric charge.
It supports the trucks at two of five heavy-duty electric vehicle charging stations in Southern California. NFI has installed five 150kw ABB chargers to support its two trucks in operation. A second infrastructure project is underway in the same warehouse complex as the first.
Freightliner brand parent Daimler Trucks North America is building 20 eCascadias and 10 medium-duty eM2 models in partnership with the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which is partially funding the fleet with a nearly $16 million grant.
“NFI and our drivers are very pleased and satisfied with the operation of the trucks from a reliability standpoint,” said Bill Bliem, senior vice president of fleet services. “Realizing these are demonstration units, we partner with Daimler to identify issues and problems so they can make adjustments or changes to put out the best available vehicle when they go in to production.”
The only issues with the trucks so far have been mechanical, unrelated to the battery system, he said.