Freightliner debuts electric Cascadia, M2

PORTLAND, Ore. – Daimler Trucks boldly proclaimed it intends to be the world’s leader in electric trucks, and it showed for the first time its electric-powered eCascadia and eM2 for the North American market.

The announcements and electric truck debuts came at the company’s Capital Market and Technology Day here, in front of investors and media.

DTNA CEO Roger Nielsen introduces the eCascadia.

“The Freightliner eCascadia and eM2 are designed to meet customer needs for electrified commercial vehicles serving dedicated, predictable routes where the vast majority of daily runs fall between 45 and 150 miles,” said Roger Nielsen, president and chief executive officer of Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA). “These innovative trucks reflect DTNA’s commitment to bring practical, game-changing technology to market. The eCascadia, utilizing North America’s bestselling Class 8 platform, and eM2 106, based on one of the most in-demand medium-duty truck designs, are built on validated, series production trucks in extensive use by our customers every day.”

The eCascadia boasts up to 730 peak horsepower, with batteries located at the axle ends that produce 550 Kwh of usable power. It’ll have a range of up to 250 miles and can be recharged to 80% of its power within 90 minutes, providing another 200 miles of range. It’s aimed at regional distribution and drayage applications. It’s capable of handling a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 80,000 lbs.

The eM2 medium-duty truck produces 480 peak horsepower, with batteries that provide 325 Kwh of capacity for a range of up to 230 miles. It can be charged to 80% within an hour, providing another 184 miles of range. It’s designed for local distribution, pickup-and-delivery, food and beverage delivery, and last mile logistics applications. The eM2, said Nielsen, represents the broadest range of opportunities that are practical today. It has a GCWR of 26,000 lbs.


“Our primary goal at DTNA is bringing vehicles to market that are safe, reliable and efficient. Heavy-duty electric vehicles present the greatest engineering challenges, but they also are the best learning laboratories,” Nielsen said. “We have decades of experience in successfully producing durable commercial vehicles in high volumes that stand up to the demands our customers place on them. We now bring this unmatched experience and expertise to the electric truck category.”

Martin Daum, head of Daimler Trucks globally, said electrification is not new to Daimler. He noted the company produced a Fuso eCanter prototype as far back as 2010. Daum said Daimler will work closely with customers to jointly gain knowledge of how to use electric trucks, and in which segments to do so. Daimler also launched a new electrification strategy dubbed EMG – its e-Mobility Group.

Nielsen said the time is right to roll out a line of electric commercial vehicles, thanks to maturing battery technology, lower battery costs, improved power density, and more use cases where the real cost of ownership of running electric trucks if favorable when compared to conventional powertrains.

“We are ready to pivot our future business environment to bring e-mobility solutions into the real of our core business,” Nielsen said. “We have much to learn but we are well on our way.”

Thirty eCascadias and eM2s will be deployed with fleets later this year, as part of the Freightliner Electric Innovation fleet. They’ll be evaluated in real-world applications.

Meanwhile, the company is also working to support charging infrastructure development. Daimler AG is a founding member of CharIN – the Charging Interface Initiative – which is looking to develop a standard charging system for battery-powered vehicles. Daimler’s leading a CharIN task force that will develop a new electric commercial vehicle charging standard globally.

“We are the undisputed global leader of the trucking industry and we want to remain in that position also with regards to electric trucks,” said Daum. “We were first-movers on electric trucks and we strive to provide the leading electric truck in each relevant segment. With the foundation of the global electric mobility group, we maximize the impact of our investments in this key strategic technology field. Thus, we can go for the best solutions in batteries, charging solutions and energy management.”

James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 18 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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