Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Meijer is deploying two of the first all-electric semitrucks outside of California.
The retailer operates one of the largest fleets in Michigan with 250 semitrucks and was the first in North America to implement the EPA’s 2010 near-zero emissions standards in 2009. It is also 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. That philosophy still guides us today and is exemplified by our company’s commitment to lessening our carbon footprint,” said Rick Keyes, president and CEO. “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. It celebrated its inaugural delivery Dec. 15 with a more than 44,000-pound food donation to Gleaners Community Food Bank in Detroit, alongside Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and representatives from Meijer and Daimler Truck North America.
The two semis will operate out of the retailer’s Lansing Distribution Center, which is now 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 the conclusion of testing and integration of customer feedback in the design and development process, Freightliner is rolling out the series produced battery electric truck to customers, including Meijer that received the first delivery.
“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,” said Mike Graham, SVP 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 eCascadia truck is the zero-emission version of the Cascadia and is suited for short-haul routes that allow for depot-based charging. To increase safety for traffic participants, especially in urban environments, the 82,000-pound Class 8 truck comes with Detroit assurance with active brake assist 5 and debuts the active side guard assist. The technology 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.
The delivery of food donated by Meijer included 44,136 pounds of nonperishable food, including peanut butter and canned vegetables, fruit and meat that Gleaners representatives said will be delivered to clients this holiday season.
“We are proud to stand with Meijer in service to our community,” said 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.”