First came the electric Freightliner box truck, and now we have the semi truck. Daimler said on Monday it's built the very first eCascadia semi trucks and they're on their way to the first lucky customers in the US.
If the eCascadia looks and sounds familiar, that's because it's based on Freightliner's normal Cascadia semi. Rather than its internal-combustion engine, there's a battery-electric powertrain with a 550-kWh battery pack. Daimler has previously said the electric powertrain makes 730 horsepower and is good enough for 250 miles of range. Plug the big semi into the right connector and 80% of the battery's capacity returns in 90 minutes.
The electric semi isn't exactly going into production just yet, however. Instead, the first eCascadias will be part of a "Freightliner Innovation Fleet" before the truck enters series production in late 2021. Penske and NFI are the two companies that will add the electric semi to their ranks first.
Penske also took delivery of one of the first eM2 box trucks, the other electric truck from Daimler's Freightliner division. Each of the eCascadias will operate in Southern California by the end of the year. Freightliner said it will deliver additional eCascadias to customers throughout this year.
Effectively, Daimler has beaten Tesla to the electric semi market. The Silicon Valley-based automaker has promised the Tesla Semi will enter production soon, but so far, it hasn't. Instead, the Semi has been used to deliver other Tesla vehicles and haul between the Gigafactory and various places.
Yet, Daimler has spread its electric truck portfolio out. Not only does it have the eCascadia and the eM2, the automaker also showed off the Fuso eCanter and even an electric school bus.