As the commercial trucking industry moves forward in developing alternative fuel equipment, Fastenal is helping to drive innovation.
Since early 2020, the supply-chain organization has participated in a long-term test program of two battery-electric Freightliner eM2 box trucks within its Los Angeles metro area operations.
In that same spirit of environmental sustainability and innovation, the company also recently completed a short-term pilot of a pre-series battery electric Class 8 truck — the Freightliner eCascadia.
The participation stemmed from a collaboration between Penske Truck Leasing and Daimler Trucks North America to test commercial electric trucks in real-world situations and drive future improvements to the technology.
Fastenal, which supports business partners with last-mile logistics as part of its supply-chain management services, has been a valuable test case. The company offers products spanning more than nine major product lines — including fasteners, tools, and safety-related equipment.
“Fastenal has been a tremendous partner in the testing of these electric vehicle (EV) units,” said Paul Rosa, senior VP of procurement and fleet planning at Penske Truck Leasing. “Their sustainability goals and efforts along with their innovative way of thinking and approaching the future of our industry made them a natural fit to run EVs. We look forward to continuing to work together with Fastenal towards a more sustainable future.”
For over a year, Fastenal has been using the two eM2 box trucks to run daily delivery routes from its Santa Fe Springs trucking terminal to surrounding branches and customer-specific Onsite locations.
Together, the trucks travel nearly 900 miles per week to service 16 Fastenal locations spanning from Inglewood in the west to Santa Ana in the south, and then to Ontario in the east.
“The program is helping us understand where electric vehicles might fit into our future,” said Dan Florness, Fastenal’s president and CEO. “It also gives us a chance to help accelerate the development of commercial EV technology.”
“The eM2 vehicles have performed well for us,” added Kevin Larson, Fastenal’s VP of transportation. “Our drivers really like the instant torque and performance, and the trucks have proven to be highly reliable over time, with very few downtime days.”
Fastenal was running the eCascadia tractor on a roughly 120-mile daily line haul normally run by a diesel tractor. The vehicle took off from Santa Fe Springs in the morning, headed north to pick up a full trailer in Valencia, then returned to Santa Fe Springs, where the load was broken up into multiple local routes (two of which are run by the eM2s).
With the eCascadia test now complete, Penske can continue to focus on program development and Fastenal will continue to be a partner in this space as they work together on more sustainable transportation options.
The Penske and Daimler commercial EV testing program is supported by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD), whose $15.7 million grant helped fund the program. South Coast AQMD focuses on improving air quality in large portions of Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, including the Coachella Valley.