Daimler Trucks North America has announced this week that it will begin building electric powered Freightliner trucks at its Portland Oregon facility with an expected start to production in 2021.
Daimler had already been developing electrification technology at its research labs on Swan Island but had previously said it would manufacture its electric trucks in North Carolina.
However the latest statement said it will begin converting its existing Freightliner factory in Portland to build electric vehicles.
“The road to emissions-free transportation is going to be driven with battery-electric vehicles. I believe the future is electric,” Daimler Trucks NA chief executive Roger Nielsen said at a trade event in Long Beach, California.
He said Daimler will have nearly 50 battery-driven electric test trucks on U.S. roads by the end of the year.
Daimler said it decided to make the trucks in Portland because of the city’s proximity to the huge Californian market, where rigorous air-quality standards are increasing demand for zero-emission commercial vehicles.
Last year, Daimler introduced electric trucks with ranges up to 250 miles capable of recharging 80 per cent of their battery within 90 minutes.
The company said its Portland operations will also include a battery storage facility and a program for collaborating with customers to integrate electric trucks into their existing fleets.
Daimler has not indicated how much it will spend to convert the Freightliner factory for electric vehicle production or whether the switch will produce additional jobs at the site.
In January Daimler announced that it will hire 200 staff, mostly in Portland, to develop self-driving semis it hopes to have on the road by 2030.