US’ largest private freight carrier adds 12 electric semis to its fleet

The largest privately owned freight carrier in North America has recently incorporated a dozen BEV Class-8 electric semis into its California fleet. This addition complements its extensive inventory of over 300 all-electric assets.

Estes added twelve Freightliner eCascadia electric semis to its West Coast operations through the company’s Banning, California terminal. The trucks, which offer up to 230 miles of range from a single charge, are destined for local pickup and delivery assignments, according to a statement from the company.

Estes is the latest in what seems to be an ever-growing list of fleet customers who have put the Freightliner-built eCascadias into real-world service. A list that now includes Coca-Cola, Schneider, CarMax, and even Tesla Semi pilot program partner Frito-Lay.

“At Estes, we seek out opportunities to test and incorporate equipment that will help us reduce our carbon footprint. We’re thrilled to begin including electric trucks into our fleet and look forward to adding more, as availability and infrastructure allows,” said Sara Graf, vice president of sustainability, culture, and communications at Estes. “This EV initiative is just one more way that Estes is focusing on sustainability and the environment.”

The twelve Class 8 electric trucks will join a battery-powered fleet at Estes’ Banning terminal, which already includes more than 300 electric forklifts and two electric yard jockeys that are employed to relocate trailers within the terminal and lot.

Electrek’s Take

One of the most pressing challenges facing commercial fleets is a critical shortage of qualified operators – and the trucks themselves, with their lumbering engines and pervasive stink of spent diesel fuel, are part of the larger driver retention problem. The good news for Estes is that they’re about to find out what companies that already have electric semis in their fleets already know: drivers love EVs!

“It’s fair to say these EV trucks caught our drivers by surprise in how much they enjoyed operating them, all of whom noted how quiet, smooth and agile they were,” said Michael Haynes, Banning terminal manager, told the American Journal of Transportation. “It’s exciting to see Estes continue investing in and testing promising, new technologies and equipment that allow us to serve our customers to the best of our ability.”

The more drivers we can get behind the wheel of an EV, the more drivers will begin to demand EVs. Plain and simple.

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