DTNA: Freightliner eCascadia marks a shift in product strategy

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LONG BEACH, Calif. — Freightliner Trucks’ new battery-electric eCascadia represents a “significant step” in Daimler Truck North America’s transformation journey, said Rakesh Aneja, vice president and head of electric mobility at DTNA, during the 2022 Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo here This transformation also involves helping to solve the biggest barrier to widespread commercial vehicle electrification: charging infrastructure.

Freightliner, a division of DTNA, will begin mass production of the eCascadia this year. With a typical range of up to 230 miles depending on vehicle configurations and other conditions, the eCascadia is suitable for short-haul routes that allow for depot-based billing, including last mile logistics, local and regional distribution, drayage and warehouse. warehouse applications.

See also: DTNA opens order books for Freightliner eCascadia, eM2

At a May 9 press conference at ACT Expo, Andreas Juretzka, Senior Product Development Manager for DTNA, said the OEM has been gathering customer learnings and feedback from more than a million miles since 2018 to ensure fleet needs were met before entering series production.

“I am extremely excited about electrifying our portfolio,” said David Carson, senior vice president of Daimler Truck North America. “Our company is optimistic about this opportunity, and our engineers are making it a reality for every segment we serve. But the truth is that it will take some time for technology to catch up with the demands of all these applications.

“There is no bigger barrier than the lack of infrastructure and the inability of the grid in its current state to meet the demand that will come with so many electric trucks on the road,” Carson added.

Designed for full integration with the eCascadia, the Detroit ePowertrain offers two electric axle designs, including a dual motor with a maximum torque of 23,000 lb-ft. and a maximum power of 395 hp, and a single engine with a maximum torque of 11,500 lb-ft. and maximum power of 195 hp.

The Detroit ePowertrain also offers three battery options for a range of sizes and average charge times, from zero to full, from 194 kWh (one and a half to three hours), 291 kWh (two to four hours) and 438 kWh (two to six hours).

The powertrain produces less heat than a traditional combustion engine, so temperature and package requirements for cooling are minimized, DTNA pointed out. The eCascadia comes with closed hood vents and a new grille, which reduces drag by forcing more air around the vehicle instead of pulling it through the radiator.

Additional aerodynamic enhancements are available in the Aero-X package, standard on the 6×4 model, and include front wheel arch closures, air skirts under the high voltage battery impact protection panels, quarter wings with aerodynamic spoilers and drive wheel fairings.

Vehicle connectivity

The Detroit Connect eServices that have been developed for eCascadia include an internal Charger Management System (CMS) integrated into the Detroit Connect portal. CMS provides deposit usage reporting, grant compliance data, and standard low-carbon fuel credit reporting.

Additionally, CMS allows for multi-vehicle staggered charging, off-peak charging, and partial charging.

An eRange prediction tool automatically calculates and displays the range during a proposed trip. The tool analyzes multiple data inputs, including vehicle parameters, load, weather, traffic, and road grade. The prediction tool also allows testing of “what-if” scenarios and performs analysis, DTNA noted.

Battery health monitoring tracks and gives visibility into eCascadia battery health percentage, state-of-charge percentage, miles of range remaining, and state-of-charge. Post-trip analysis provides insights to improve eCascadia performance, use and driver training.

The initial release of the CMS will take place in Q4 2022, with additional features introduced in 2023.

See also: Electrification of the fleet: Launch or not?

Traditional Detroit Connect features, including remote updates to reduce the need to stop and physically connect the vehicle to initiate firmware updates, are also available on the new eCascadia. When an issue is identified, Detroit Connect Virtual Technician sends an alert via email or the Detroit Connect portal regarding the severity of the outage and how to resolve it.

For a critical failure, Virtual Technician forwards the data directly to the Detroit Customer Support Center for analysis and assistance. A follow-up notification will indicate the cause of the critical fault, recommend parts to fix the problem, and provide the nearest service points with the correct parts in stock.

Freightliner’s Class 8 Electric is also equipped with sensors throughout the vehicle to detect a collision and automatically open the electrical circuit of the high voltage system, turning off the batteries and the electric axle to avoid any risk of electrical shock or thermal event. .

Safety devices

The eCascadia comes standard with Detroit Assurance’s Active Brake Assist 5.0 (ABA 5) to mitigate potential collisions by calculating the truck’s speed and distance from other vehicles to determine if a warning or brake action braking is required.

The release of the eCascadia into mass production marks the debut of a new safety feature from Detroit Assurance: Active Side Protection Assist (ASGA). This technology engages at city speeds (20 km/h or less) to prevent the truck from turning right when a cyclist or moving pedestrian is detected on the passenger side of the truck. ASGA applies automatic braking as well as visual and audible warnings to help protect pedestrians on the road.

Additionally, the eCascadia will be the first version of Freightliner’s Cascadia to come standard with Active Lane Assist (ALA), which combines Level 2 automated driving with a suite of driver comfort features.

Additional standard features include brake hold mode, 0 mph adaptive cruise control, smart high beams, automatic wipers/headlamps, tailgate warning and lane departure warning. Optional features include forward-facing video capture, which uses a forward-facing HD camera to record truck activity on the road.

The eCascadia interior features an ergonomic, modern wrap-around instrument panel featuring a dual-screen LCD digital display that provides the driver with customizable access to vehicle status information on the A-panel display, and an infotainment Panel B screen with media connections.

Going electric

The Detroit eConsulting team, which has worked with nearly 40 Freightliner customers over the past few years, advises fleets and dealers on sizing the right infrastructure, choosing ideal loaders, navigating discounts and incentives, site selection, connectivity information, and photovoltaic and energy storage options. .

Additionally, the Detroit eFill line of electric utility vehicle chargers offers a variety of commercial charger options for customers and charging station operators. The first Detroit eFill chargers were rolled out across California earlier this year by California Truck Centers.

The portfolio of chargers includes options for multiple needs, ranging from all-in-one charging stations from 60 to 240 kW to scalable 360 ​​kW electrical cabinets that break down into multiple dispensers. The eFill lineup will also soon include smaller portable charging solutions for commercial spaces and large-scale fleet charging depots that can provide up to 1.44MW of charging power, the company said.

Because the lack of a national publicly accessible electric charging infrastructure for commercial vehicles remains a challenge, DTNA, together with NextEra Energy Resources and BlackRock Renewable Power (BlackRock), laid the foundations earlier this year for a future joint venture to design, develop, install and operate a national high-performance charging network for medium and heavy-duty electric battery and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the United States. The sites will also be available for light vehicles.

The start of operations of the future joint venture is scheduled for mid-2022. Initial funding is expected to be approximately $650 million, split equally between the three parties.

The parties plan to build a network of charging sites on critical freight routes along the east and west coasts and in Texas by 2026. The first phase of charging construction is expected to begin in 2023.

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