A drum roll was the only noise heard at the unveiling of Daimler’s new eCascadia

June 11, 2018

Suzanne Stempinski

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Cue the music.

There’s a big announcement taking place. Maybe it’s a new truck. Wait. Stop the music. We want you to hear it roll in.

However, there was no engine noise as the new eCascadia made its first industry appearance in Portland, Ore.

Roger Nielsen, Martin Daum with eCascadia
Roger Nielsen (left), president and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America, and Martin Daum, global head of Daimler’s Trucks and Buses divisions, show off the electric version of its Freightliner Cascadia heavy-duty truck, the eCascadia.

Instead of the growl and clank of diesel, the Class 8 eCascadia rolled in silently. It was operating solely on batteries, and it is capable of hauling to a range of 250 miles on a single charge. With a 90-minute charging break, you are good to go for another 200 miles.

It is not ready for long-haul applications yet. However, it might be a great fit for port haulers or slightly longer-than-local runs where the trip length is 50-150 miles one way. Its instruments provide performance data to optimize battery life and powertrain.

If the eCascadia isn’t the right fit for your operation, maybe you’re ready for an eM2. This box truck size works for pick up and delivery applications.

Remember that last-mile business you were ready to jump into? What if your truck could be quiet, emission-free and energy efficient?

With 480 peak horsepower and a range of up to 230 miles, you could make a lot of pickups and deliveries. Plus, in roughly 60 minutes you can recharge up to about 80 percent. That is another 180 miles. That adds up to a full day running local. Look for these trucks to begin production in 2019.

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New automated truck research center

So where does the magic happen? Who takes ideas of future vehicles and brings them to life?

Daimler Trucks has committed to the creation of a new Automated Truck Research and Development Center in Portland. The facility will focus on all aspects of development, testing and validation necessary for the various levels of automation.

Daimler eCascadia two-truck platooning
Daimler Trucks North America demonstrated automated two-truck platooning during Daimler’s Capital Market and Technology Day on June 6. “Our approach to developing highly automated driving technology will draw upon our proven expertise and long history of commercializing safe, reliable and fully integrated commercial vehicles,” says Roger Nielsen, president and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America.

“Our approach to developing highly automated driving technology will draw upon our proven expertise and long history of commercializing safe, reliable and fully integrated commercial vehicles,” said Roger Nielsen, president and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America.

One of the recent developments in the area of automated truck driving is known as pairing or two-truck platooning. It was demonstrated during Daimler’s Capital Market and Technology Day on June 6.

This fuel-saving technology moves Daimler a step on the path to more highly automated vehicles. It uses radar and camera sensor systems currently available as part of Detroit Assurance, along with vehicle-to-vehicle communications and advanced driver assistance systems.

Braking is coordinated across the connected vehicles. Steering, partially automated, keeps the trucks in the center of their lanes. The vehicles following the lead truck respond to braking commands in less than 0.3 seconds. It is much faster than a driver can react. That allows closer following distances.

Consider eCascadia, other trucks as ‘business machines’

Available in fourth quarter 2018, Daimler Trucks North America offers two new connectivity-related services designed to give truck owners and fleets new power to create electronic logging systems, develop driver-scoring apps that use data from the truck, and get direct access to truck data for back-end systems.

“Connected vehicles are commonplace, but not all connected vehicles are business machines, as trucks are,” said Jason Krajewski, director of connectivity for Daimler Trucks North America. “Value needs to be created for everyone who touches our trucks.”

A truck’s value connects directly tied to the people who interact with it, from the driver or technician to a fuel or fleet manager, he said.

Krajewski demonstrated features of the Detroit Connect platform, such as remote diagnostics services with Detroit Connect Virtual Technician. This is available on all Detroit engines, including the Detroit DD5 and DD8, across all DTNA truck models.

Detroit Connect Remote Updates, exclusive to the new Freightliner Cascadia, lets customers securely make over-the-air engine parameter changes. It also lets them download Detroit Diesel Engine Control performance reports.

With this in place, fleet managers no longer have to wait for a truck to come to the shop to change key parameters, such as top speed or idle shutdown time. With a few clicks of a mouse, they can change those parameters, for one truck or up to the entire fleet.

 

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Suzanne Stempinksi delivers distinctive driver insight to readers. She studied journalism at Northwestern University, married a trucker, and for the next several years added a few million miles of safe driving to her resume. She has contributed to Land Line Magazine since 2000, covering show truck news and her specialty – test drives.