August 14th, 2020 by Johnna Crider
J.B. Hunt has made its first delivery using an all-electric Freightliner eCascadia. J.B. Hunt is one of the largest shipping companies in America and you’ve surely seen its trucks on the highway (if you live in the US). J.B. Hunt specializes in the transporting of full truckload freight containers, and works with companies such as Walmart. It also works with most of the major North American rail carriers to transport truckload freight. For a massive transport company to give an EV truck a chance, this is a big deal. Why?
Imagine a time when all the large shipping companies are using only electric vehicles and there is no messy exhaust clouding the air.
This was the first J.B. Hunt Intermodal delivery using this all-electric Class 8 truck, and it pulled out of the Southgate terminal this week. The company said it barely made a sound. The transport was a 120-mile haul for Walmart, and it kicked off a three-month testing phase. J.B. Hunt plans to integrate the eCascadia with its day-to-day fleet operations in Los Angeles.
J.B. Hunt’s COO, Craig Harper, who was present for the new truck’s arrival, said, “J.B. Hunt is continually exploring innovative solutions such as the eCascadia to improve the sustainability of our fleet and operations. We are excited to test this vehicle and gain more hands-on experience with all-electric tractors.”
The eCascadia has zero tailpipe emissions, which makes it an environmentally friendly vehicle that will reduce the fleet’s carbon footprint. Fully charged, the eCascadia is expected to have a range of up to 250 miles, which makes it perfect for local and regional distribution. The all-electric tractor has a 525-horsepower engine and can recharge to 80% in just 90 minutes.
Richard Howard, senior vice president of On-Highway sales and marketing at DTNA, said, “Together with our great customers, we are leading the way to a future of CO2-neutral commercial transportation. The collaboration between vehicle manufacturer and transportation logistics experts is a necessity to develop these industry-leading technologies, and we’re proud to share this journey with our important customers J.B. Hunt and Walmart.”
Charging stations for the eCascadia have been installed at the Los Angeles terminal, and drivers are being trained to operated the vehicle. The eCascadia that J.B. Hunt is testing is a member of the Freightliner Customer Experience Fleet, which is providing DTNA customers a chance to switch their fleets to electric.
Jane Ewing, senior vice president of Sustainability for Walmart, shared her thoughts and excitement. “Walmart encourages and works with our suppliers to reduce their carbon footprint and improve their sustainability efforts. This new pilot is reflective of J.B. Hunt’s commitment to maximizing the sustainability of their fleet, and we look forward to learning more as the company tests new innovations to help meet the demands of business in a more sustainable way.”
J.B. Hunt wants to lead when it comes to sustainable transportation. It’s even received the SmartWay Excellence Award from the EPA for the past 10 years. In 2019, J.B. Hunt prevented 3.2 million metric tons of CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere through its OTR to intermodal conversion. This is the equivalent of removing more than 700,000 passenger vehicles from the road for an entire year. In total, its current private fleet includes 5 all-electric, medium-duty box trucks. Those were added to the company’s collection in 2018.
Air Pollution Hurts Us
There are many studies that show air pollution hurts us, a lot. Last year, researchers at Harvard Chan School of Public Health found that hospitalizations for several common diseases such as UTis, skin infections, septicemia, and even electrolyte disorders have been linked with exposure to PM2.5, fine particulate air pollution. These little particles are so tiny that you need a microscope to see them.
However, unless we, and by “we” I mean everyone (companies and people alike), stop polluting the air, there is nothing we can do to stop that. This is why what J.B. Hunt is doing is important. Five trucks may not sound like much right now, but it’s a start. Electric vehicles are the future, and while companies such as Tesla are pushing EV passenger vehicles forward, we need more companies — transport companies especially — to create demand for EV delivery trucks as well as other cleaner shipping methods.
And they are. Slowly, but surely, EVs are starting to become more visible on the streets and highways of America, and eventually the world.
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