Penske adds electric trucks to its commercial fleet

Penske Truck Leasing’s expanding fleet of electric vehicles is growing even more, as the company, along with vehicle manufacturer Daimler Truck North America, recently celebrated Penske’s commercial rollout of Freightliner eCascadia semi-trucks.

The first production model of the battery-powered, heavy-duty truck was delivered in late November to an undisclosed spirits company, according to Penske officials.

That delivery marked the culmination of a collaborative design and testing process that began nearly five years ago.

“These trucks were designed and manufactured by Daimler, with continuous input from Penske. We were part of the co-creation group,” said Paul Rosa, senior vice president procurement and fleet planning, Penske Truck Leasing. “Our company provided initial design suggestions and had continuous collaboration sessions during the project.”

In 2018, Penske, along with 29 other Daimler customers, formed a council to help co-create and launch Daimler’s Freightliner electric trucks.

That same year, Daimler delivered the first truck in Penske’s electric fleet — a Freightliner eM2.

Since then, the companies have been collaborating on testing and introducing electric vehicles — including the Freightliner eM2 and eCascadia models — to a customer base that increasingly demands them.

Penske Truck Leasing’s fleet of electric vehicles continues to grow. The company – along with Daimler Truck North America – recently rolled out the commercial eCascadia semi-trucks. This photo shows a vehicle at a Penske charging location in Southern California. (PHOTO COURTESY PENSKE)

“Interest in electric vehicles continues to grow as our customers seek to further reduce emissions,” Rosa said, “We anticipate adding more electric vehicles across our fleet for full-service leasing, rental, and for use within our logistics business.”

Penske has invested substantially in EV development — including building out charging infrastructure at the company’s locations in Southern California— and has a test fleet that evaluates a variety of vehicles for various markets and real-world use, according to the company’s website.

Penske’s electric test fleet includes the Volvo VNR tractor (Class 8), the International eMV (Class 6 and 7), the Ford E-Transit (Class 2), the FUSO eCanter (Class 4), the Kalmar Ottawa Electric Terminal Tractor T2E (Class 8 yard tractor) and the Orange EV electric terminal truck (Class 8 yard tractor).

The company’s electric fleet numbers change regularly as Penske works with manufacturers to rotate their prototypes in and out of the fleet while they are tested in real-world use cases, said Alen Beljin, Penske public relations manager.

Penske has also fully deployed a fleet of 750 Ford E-Transit cargo vans available to full-service leasing and commercial rental customers.

The vans have a payload of up to 3,800 pounds and an estimated range of more than 100 miles.

The recently deployed eCascadia semi has a higher range: It can travel 155 to 230 miles on a full charge, depending on the battery type, and the eCascadia and trailer have a maximum gross combined weight of 82,000 pounds, according to Daimler’s website.

Charging speed for the eCascadia also depends on battery type, as well as the power capability of charging hardware, but the truck can charge from 0% to 80% in as little as 90 minutes, according to Daimler.

David Carson, Daimler senior vice president of sales and marketing, stressed the significance of Penske’s part in designing the eCascadia.

“As a long-term, trusted partner in our electrification journey, Penske played an integral role in shaping the eCascadia to what is now available to all customers,” Carson said.

Beljin said Penske is dedicated to EV testing, since customers rely on the company to advise them on emergent vehicle technologies.

“Penske is at the forefront of the commercial electric vehicle movement and has been supporting and maintaining alternative fueled vehicles for more than 30 years,” Beljin said. “We feel it’s important to lead the way for our customers and for our communities as we look to a more sustainable future.”

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