German truck maker Daimler announced Wednesday it will build all-electric Freightliner trucks at its Portland plant on Swan Island.
On Wednesday, April 24, Daimler Trucks North America CEO Roger Nielsen told the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo in Long Beach, California that production will start in 2021.
DTNA's headquarters is in a new office tower on Swan Island, but part of the Portland equation is it is near California, where EV demand is high because of clean air standards.
Oregon itself has long been a dumping ground of used diesel trucks because of lower emission standards.
Nielsen also promised "an electric vehicle co-creation center" in Portland, with input from customers. The plat will also make batteries and will run on 100% renewable energy, presumably hydro and wind power from the Columbia River Gorge.
Speaking to a crowd assembled in Long Beach, Nielsen said, "The road to emissions-free transportation is going to be driven with battery-electric vehicles. I believe the future is electric."
Using the vintage term for the Portland tech region, the company tweeted:
"We are excited to announce today that we will manufacture our medium and heavy-duty battery-electric vehicles in the Silicon Forest of Portland, where our plant is being renovated to produce high voltage battery-electric vehicles."
Daimler also announced will build its electric Thomas Built Buses (TBB) in High Point, North Carolina.
DTNA is currently testing its electric trucks on the road and at raceways. It plans to put nearly 50 on U.S. roads for testing by the end of 2019, including a test fleet and the Freightliner Electric Innovation Fleet. Daimler is also experimenting with the Mercedes-Benz Actros and the Fuso eCanter. DTM is skipping plug-in hybrids and natural gas trucks. The Freightliner eM2 and eCascadia will be all-electric, all-battery powered. Nielsen said hydrogen cells are "over the horizon".
He warned that the industry must work together to establish a common battery-electric vehicle charging infrastructure, such as CharIN is trying to do. Also, batteries must become cheaper, lighter, and more powerful. And third, customers need increased incentives, decreased maintenance costs, and cheaper energy costs.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District $16 million grant partially funds the Freightliner Electric Innovation Fleet.
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