Michigan Grocery Chain Testing New Electric Trucks This Winter

A major Michigan grocery chain has added two battery-electric tractors to its fleet in a test of the vehicles in cold weather conditions. 

Meijer is testing two Freightliner eCascadias as part of a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. 

These two semitrucks will operate out of the store’s Lansing Distribution Center, which has been equipped with a specific charging infrastructure. They will make multiple deliveries daily to Meijer supercenters within a 200-mile trip range of the distribution center. 

Meijer received the battery-electric trucks early in December and celebrated their inaugural delivery with a more than 44,000-pound food donation to the Gleaners Community Food Bank in Detroit alongside Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and representatives from Meijer and Daimler Truck North America.   

In 2009, Meijer became a test fleet for Freightliner in 2009. In 2019, the retailer was successfully selected to test Freightliner’s battery-electric trucks. After a successful conclusion of testing and implementation of customer feedback in the design and development process, Freightliner is now rolling out its battery-electric truck to customers, including Meijer, which received the first delivery.  

The retailer’s trucks were partially funded by a grant to Daimler Truck North America 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. 

Freightliner’s new battery-electric eCascadia truck is the zero-emission version of the Cascadia and is ideally suited for short-haul routes that allow for depot-based charging, according to a statement from Meijer. They have a typical range of 230 miles and can recharge 80 percent of the truck in about 90 minutes. 

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