The Freightliner eCascadia trucks from Daimler Truck AG of the Mercedes-Benz Group will run from the Lansing Distribution Center to supermarkets within 200 miles.
Meijer Inc. used its first two all-electric semi trucks on Thursday to deliver more than 40,000 pounds of food to the Gleaners Community Food Bank in Detroit, which will benefit hundreds of families this holiday season.
As part of a US Energy Department grant to Daimler, Meijer claims to be one of the first merchants to deploy the vehicles outside of California and the first to assess their performance in cold winter climates. Meijer’s objective is to cut absolute carbon emissions by half from 2018 levels by 2025.
Meijer’s Michigan fleet consists of 250 trucks and more than 400 drivers who drive 70 million miles each year. It has been testing Freightliners since 2009, and special charging infrastructure has been developed in Lansing to fuel the new semis. Daimler has evaluated the eCascadia in severe winter conditions, but this is the first time it has been used in real-world conditions.
The eCascadia was developed from the truck’s diesel engine variant. The vehicle’s next iteration aims to reduce charging times to half an hour or less, according to Aneja. The issue is having the capacity to generate the power required in a short period of time. He believes the business is still some years away from reaching that goal.
“Our network of over 600 partners will see tens of thousands of families, children, seniors, veterans, and many others seeking help just this month… “And it’s only by coming together that we can take hunger off the table for the many people that need us,” said Gerry Brisson, CEO of Gleaners in Southeast Michigan.
The business also intends to evaluate the potential to localize battery manufacture in North America, which would require billions of dollars in investment, but no timetable has been provided. Aneja applauded the Inflation Reduction Act, which encourages the development of electric vehicles and batteries in North America.