Meijer Takes the Wheel: Leading the Way to a Greener Future

A Glimpse Into The Future

Imagine a fleet of semi-trucks hauling goods across Michigan, emitting nothing but silence and zero emissions. This is no longer just a dream, as Meijer, a Michigan-based retailer, is leading the charge in sustainable transportation by deploying two of the first all-electric semi-trucks outside of California. With a fleet of 250 semi-trucks, Meijer was also the first in North America to implement the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2010 near-zero emissions standards in 2009. In partnership with Freightliner, Meijer is now testing the performance of these electric semi-trucks in a cold weather environment as part of a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. This marks a revolutionary milestone for the retail industry and for Meijer’s commitment to reducing their carbon footprint and paving a sustainable future for the industry.

Freightliner eCascadia Source: Meijer

Meijer Leads the Retail Industry in Sustainability

Meijer, a Michigan-based retailer operating one of the largest fleets in the state with 250 semitrucks, has implemented the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2010 near-zero emissions standards in 2009, and is once again leading the retail industry by deploying two of the first all-electric semitrucks outside of California.

Tracking Performance of Electric Semitrucks in Cold Weather

The Grand Rapids, MI-based retailer 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.

Meijer’s Commitment to Sustainability

“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,” Meijer President & CEO Rick Keyes said. “We’re excited to continue our longstanding partnership with Freightliner to pave a sustainable future for the industry.”

Deployment and Use of Electric Semitrucks

Meijer received the battery electric semitrucks earlier this month and celebrated their inaugural delivery with a food donation to Gleaners Community Food Bank in Detroit. The two semis will operate out of the retailer’s Lansing Distribution Center and make multiple deliveries daily to Meijer supercenters within a 200-mile trip range of the distribution center.

Partnership with Freightliner and Grant from U.S. Department of Energy

Meijer became a test fleet for Freightliner in 2009 and was selected in 2019 to test the manufacturer’s battery electric semitrucks. 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. Meijer will continue reviewing data daily for temperature impact on mileage, charge times, battery life optimization and driver comfort.

Governor’s Support for Electric Trucks

“With innovative companies, a storied manufacturing heritage, and the fastest growing clean energy sector in the country, Michigan is the best place to build the future,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “As one of the first in the nation to deploy all electric semitrucks, Meijer is doing their part to preserve our pure Michigan natural resources while creating good-paying manufacturing jobs and setting a powerful example for companies everywhere. I look forward to building on our partnership with Meijer to grow Michigan’s economy and build a state where everyone can envision their future.”

Freightliner's new all-electric eCascadia semi truck, featuring a sleek design and zero emissions technology for a more sustainable transportation option.
eCascadia Closeup Source: Meijer

Freightliner’s Electric Truck

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.

Marking Milestones

“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,” said 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.”

Giving Detroit New Meaning

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. Last year, the company announced plans for a $20 million investment in the Detroit manufacturing facility to serve as the North American source of Detroit ePowertrain components.

Moving Forward

Meijer’s deployment of the all-electric semi-trucks and partnership with Freightliner highlights the retailer’s commitment to sustainability and innovation in the industry. The company’s efforts to track the performance of electric trucks in a cold weather environment will also provide valuable insights for other companies looking to implement similar solutions in their fleet. Meijer’s deployment of electric semi-trucks is a significant step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building a more sustainable future for the retail industry. The company’s continued focus on innovation and sustainability sets an example for other companies to follow in their pursuit of a greener future.

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