Less is more: new Freightliner MT50e offers cheaper battery, slower charging for 2024

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As other players in the electric commercial space push for ever-bigger batteries and faster charge timers, Freightliner is going the other way. It’s a bold move, and one that could pay off.

Freightliner parent company Daimler says customer input and data helped drive development of the new FCCC MT50e model unveiled at Work Truck Week. That data, combined with input from utility companies and charging manufacturers, led them to take what many might consider a step backwards. A step towards smaller battery packs with shorter range and the addition of slower, “Level 2” home charging.

“They wanted to show that the L2 charging options means its easier to charge these trucks at home,” explained Electrek’s own Jameson Dow, when I asked why Freightliner had sent me a picture of their new box truck blasting into a suburban home. “Which is a reasonably common use case, or so I’ve heard.”

I have some Matco and Snap-On reps in my contacts, so I reached out – and at least one Matco guy out there definitely drives his truck home every day. So that part, at least, checks out.

As for the cheaper battery, that makes sense too. The new MT50e offers a GVWR of 23,000 lbs., a range of up to 180 miles on a single charge (more than enough to cover my Matco guy), and a streamlined, integrated design with no reduction in cargo capacity compared to its diesel counterparts.

And, of course, it does all that with zero tailpipe emissions.

Ready to work

Freightliner FCCC MT50e electric glider; via Daimler Trucks.

In addition to a new, “fleet optimized” battery capacity, the MT50e sports a new electric export power system from Odyne that replaces the traditional ICE generators that power utility bodies, mobile disaster relief “command centers,” reefer units, and mobile medical units.

The MT50e is designed and built to the same body dimensions as gas and diesel MT chassis, meaning that a fleet’s existing bodies can be used on the MT50e with few or no changes, making it that much easier to integrate them into existing fleets. New driver safety and ease of operation features courtesy of its standard OptiView integrated all-digital gauge display, DriveTech driver controls and a full suite of Roadwatch passive and active driver safety assistance systems.

Electrek’s Take

Removing surface-level carbon emissions from dense human populations is one of the easiest ways to reduce the negative impacts of internal combustion on public health. The fact that this new Freightliner does that, and enables its drivers to get their day’s work done and charge up without forcing an extra trip to the depot is huge.

My prediction: this one will be a winner.

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