Freightliner Trucks shows off electric zero-emission semi in Oakland

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Freightliner Trucks showed off their new electric trucks in Oakland Thursday morning. They are now taking orders and hope to capture the attention of companies with sustainability goals.

"Battery electric trucks have zero emissions at the tailpipe so there is no CO2 emitted into the air. That is the key to getting the air cleaner," said spokesperson Alexander Voets.

Freightliner says its eCascadia is the longest-range electric vehicle in North America. It takes two and half hours to charge and goes 230 miles on a full charge. The company says these would work for regional drivers who deliver to places like the grocery and furniture stores and go home at the end of each day.

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"The good thing about truck driving is routes are very predictable. So it's very uncommon that there are instances for these trucks to go on unpredictable routes but even if they get to low charge, we have a mode that brings them back to base," Voets said in explaining that running out of charge during the day would not be an issue.

He said skeptics usually change their minds after getting to drive the truck.

"Once they see the torque and acceleration that they have, they oftentimes come around and when they get out of the truck they are much more excited about it," Voets said.

Voets also addressed cost concerns, saying once the companies overcome the investment costs of the trucks and charging stations, it will pay off.

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"Electricity tends to be cheaper as a road fuel than diesel," he said.

Freightliner's electric trucks are expected to roll out of the Portland manufacturing plant and hit the market at the end of 2022 or in 2023.

For long-hauler trucks to be replaced with electric trucks, officials say more infrastructure is needed, saying charging stations will need to be as common as gas stations.
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