The Freightliner Cascadia comes on down under to Australia this week with a big bang and a major event in Sydney. The reveal of the new truck saw the loud music and bright lights shining on the new models through the artificial smoke in a repurposed carriage works in Sydney. Read more
In January Daimler Trucks boss Martin Daum promised to have level 4 autonomous trucks on the road within a decade. Two months later, confirming his commitment, Daimler purchased a majority stake in self-driving vehicle company Torc Robotics. Read more
The handing over of an eM2, the first fully electric Freightliner to Penske Truck leasing, sees Daimler Trucks starting day to day-operational testing of heavy-duty and medium-duty e-trucks in the United States.
“The process for introducing the new Cascadia model started prior to my time at Freightliner,” says Stephen Downes, Freightliner Australia Director. “We wanted the hamburger with the lot. When you’re looking at a project like that, you have to predict what the market wants. You can argue we can learn from the Europeans and North Americans on some things, but a couple of things we thought were critical, was the safety systems. No-one would go anywhere near AMTs in the past. The same thing will happen with safety systems.
Selected trucking media were given a first taste of the Cascadia on Australian roads this week with a chance to drive two versions of the truck around the proving grounds at Anglesea in Victoria. These trucks are the first of many evaluation trucks which will be tested on Australian roads in the run-up to the launch of the model sometime in 2020.
One of the major selling points for the Cascadia in the US has been its frugal fuel consumption, something which Freightliner hope to emulate in Australia. Its slippery streamlined shape is one of the factors, but this is complemented by the matching of the Detroit engine and AMT with a sophisticated electronic architecture, designed to wring out the maximum kilometres from each litre of fuel.
As we are so early in the process, with comprehensive Cascadia testing in Australia, Freightliner are unwilling to be tied down to the specifics of what will be offered to the Australian truck buyer in 2020. However, there are some concrete factors which the company is willing to divulge.
After a long gestation period and some false starts, the Freightliner Cascadia is coming to Australia. In fact, there are already Cascadias on the ground, as part of an ongoing development and evaluation program. Diesel News attended an unveiling of the new models in a darkened film studio in Melbourne.
A presentation in Melbourne this week has confirmed the Freightliner Cascadia is in Australia to commence a comprehensive testing and evaluation program in the lead up to its launch in Australia in early 2020.
The strategy adopted by Ken Pitt, All Size Equipment Transport (ASET) Managing Director, has been to adapt prime movers and trailers to minimise size and weight to get as many loads inside prescriptive or periodical permit restrictions and as few as possible requiring special permits or pilot vehicles.