Watch Now

Daimler will package own components for electric trucks

Truck maker investing $20 million in Detroit subsidiary

Daimler Trucks North America is investing $20 million in its Detroit subsidiary to make an electric powertrain for the Freightliner eCascadia and eM2 that go on sale in 2022. (Photo: Daimler Trucks North America)

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) is going to offer its own Detroit-branded ePowertrain when it begins selling the battery electric-powered Freightliner eCascadia and Freightliner eM2 next year.

The technology subsidiary in suburban Detroit is getting a $20 million investment to source the components. But the work comes from a global architecture designed to create carbon dioxide-neutral commercial vehicles. Daimler is targeting carbon neutrality in its major markets by 2039.  

Daimler’s Trucks’ seven brands will offer similar components tailored for their markets and specific use cases.

“By utilizing our Detroit ePowertrain to power the Freightliner eCascadia and eM2, we are giving Freightliner buyers the same level of confidence that comes with our conventionally powered portfolio,” said Richard Howard, DTNA senior vice president of sales and marketing for the unit’s on-highway segment.

Suppliers vie for manufacturer business

DTNA’s move comes as Tier 1 automotive suppliers, including Dana Inc. (NYSE: DAN), Meritor Inc. (NYSE: MTOR) and BorgWarner Inc. (NYSE: BWA), offer integrated electric propulsion systems.  

Dana, for example, won a contract to electrify medium-duty trucks for PACCAR Inc. (NASDAQ: PCAR) brands Kenworth and Peterbilt. Meritor won the Kenworth and Peterbilt business for battery-electric Class 8 tractors.

“Nowhere else can buyers find the level of performance, support, quality, dedication to uptime and engineering expertise as with our Detroit product portfolio,” Howard said in a press release.

Electronic axles and battery packs

At first, the Detroit ePowertrain will offer an electronic axle (eAxle) design operating at 400 volts. It will be offered in two variants. A single motor design is rated at 180 horsepower (hp) delivers a maximum 11,500 pound-feet of torque. A dual motor variant offers up to 360 hp and 23,000 pound-feet of torque. 

The Detroit ePowertrain will be mated to one of three battery offerings for the eCascadia and eM2. The versions are a 210 kilowatt hour (kWh), a 315 kWh and a 475 kWh version. Maximum driving range will exceed 230 miles on a full charge for the medium-duty eM2 and 250 miles for the Class 8 eCascadia tractor.

Daimler Trucks signed a battery pack supply agreement with Chinese supplier Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL),  in September 2019. The battery packs consist of arrays of lithium-Ion prismatic cells. They will be used in Mercedes-Benz eActros, eCascadia, eM2 and Mitsubishi Fuso eCanter. 

Daimler also is investing in electric bus and powertrain developer Proterra Inc. It is supplying electric components for DTNA subsidiaries Thomas Built Buses and Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp.

DTNA parent Daimler Trucks is expected to become a stand-alone entity by the end of the year. The board of management of Stuttgart, Germany-based Daimler AG decided last Wednesday to split the company into Daimler Trucks and rename the car and van businesses Mercedes-Benz.

Daimler will create stand-alone truck business

Chinese supplier CATL will provide battery packs for Daimler Trucks

Daimler Trucks invests in Proterra electrification SPAC

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.

Alan Adler

Alan Adler is an award-winning journalist who worked for The Associated Press and the Detroit Free Press. He also spent two decades in domestic and international media relations and executive communications with General Motors.