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Meijer First Retailer to Run All-electric Semis in Cold Weather Climate

Posted By: DBUSINESS on January 9, 2023.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

Meijer, the Grand Rapids-based retailer that operates one of the largest fleets in Michigan with 250 semitrucks, has deployed two of the first all-electric semitrucks outside of California.

The retailer also is the first nationwide to track the performance of the Freightliner eCascadia semitrucks in a cold-weather environment as part of a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

“Our company’s earliest beginnings were marked by doing what’s right while keeping an eye toward innovation,” says Rick Keyes, president and CEO of Meijer. “That philosophy still guides us today and is exemplified by our company’s commitment to lessening our carbon footprint. We’re excited to continue our longstanding partnership with Freightliner to pave a sustainable future for the industry.”

Meijer received the battery electric semitrucks earlier this month and celebrated their inaugural delivery today with a more than 44,000-pound food donation to Gleaners Community Food Bank in Detroit alongside representatives from Meijer, Daimler Truck North America (DTNA), and state of Michigan officials.

The two semis will operate out of the retailer’s Lansing Distribution Center, which now is equipped with specific charging infrastructure. They will make multiple deliveries daily to Meijer supercenters within a 200-mile trip range of the distribution center.

Meijer became a test fleet for Freightliner in 2009 and was selected in 2019 to test the manufacturer’s battery electric semitrucks. After a successful conclusion of testing and integration of customer feedback in the design and development process, Freightliner now is rolling out the series produced battery electric truck to customers, including Meijer that received the first delivery.

The retailer’s trucks were partially funded by a grant to DTNA from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office geared toward the demonstration of battery electric commercial trucks under diverse climate conditions. Meijer will continue reviewing data daily for temperature impact on mileage, charge times, battery life optimization, and driver comfort.

“Through this partnership, we can help accelerate the industry’s transformation to electrification by applying valuable insights from data collected and real-world applications in a cold climate environment and make a meaningful difference when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” says Mike Graham, senior vice president of supply chain and manufacturing for Meijer. “We’re pleased to work with Freightliner to further put the eCascadia tractors into real-world applications outside of southern California as we look for solutions to achieve zero emissions.”

Freightliner’s new battery electric eCascadia truck is the zero-emission version of the industry-leading Cascadia and is ideally suited for short-haul routes that allow for depot-based charging. Extensive development and rigorous testing through several prototypes and customer-tested trucks resulted in a powerful and efficient electric truck with multiple battery and drive axle options, providing a typical range of 230 miles, depending on vehicle configurations.

With time being of the essence in this industry, a maximum battery capacity of almost 440 kWh can recharge 80 percent of the truck in approximately 90 minutes. To increase safety for traffic participants, especially in urban environments, the 82,000-pound (GCW) Class 8 truck comes standard with Detroit Assurance with Active Brake Assist 5 and debuts the Active Side Guard Assist (ASGA).

The ASGA is an industry-first technology that engages at urban speeds of 12 mph or less to mitigate the truck from making a right turn when a moving cyclist or pedestrian is detected on the passenger side of the truck.

“We are excited about the delivery of the eCascadia to Meijer as part of such an important industry. Our goal is to provide our customers with the safest, most reliable, and durable battery electric trucks to ensure their needs are met even for the toughest use cases,” says David Carson, senior vice president of sales and marketing for DTNA. “This delivery represents a significant milestone in our customers’ and also in our own journey to a zero-emission future.”

Detroit, the industry-leading manufacturer of engines, axles, and transmissions, is the power behind the eCascadia. While the eCascadia is built in Portland, Ore., the in-house developed Detroit ePowertrain is designed for a full integration with the eCascadia in DTNA’s Detroit manufacturing facility located in Detroit.

“We are proud to stand with Meijer in service to our community,” says Gerry Brisson, president and CEO of Gleaners. “We applaud Meijer’s efforts to improve our planet while providing thousands of pounds of nutritious food for households that are struggling right now.”

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