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Meijer to deploy all-electric semitrucks in Michigan

Meijer has 4 Tesla Semi's on order

Courtesy Meijer

A grocery retailer in the region is adding two electric semitrucks to its 250-truck fleet.

Meijer earlier this month said it will be one of the first retailers outside of California to deploy the all-electric Freightliner eCascadia semitrucks. The trucks will operate out of the retailer’s Lansing distribution center and make deliveries within a 200-mile trip range of the center.

In addition, Meijer also will be the first nationwide retailer to track the performance of the semitrucks in a cold weather environment through a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. Meijer will review data daily for temperature impact on mileage, charge times, battery life optimization and driver comfort.

“Our company’s earliest beginnings were marked by doing what’s right while keeping an eye toward innovation. That philosophy still guides us today and is exemplified by our company’s commitment to lessening our carbon footprint,” said Meijer President and CEO Rick Keyes. “We’re excited to continue our longstanding partnership with Freightliner to pave a sustainable future for the industry.”

Meijer became a test fleet for Freightliner in 2009 and was selected in 2019 to test the manufacturer’s battery electric semitrucks. After a successful testing process, Freightliner has included Meijer in its first rollout of the trucks.

The new battery electric eCascadia is a zero-emission vehicle suited for short-haul routes that allow for depot-based charging. According to Freightliner, the truck can be 80% charged in approximately 90 minutes.

The semitrucks also include features such as active brake assist plus active side guard assist, an industry-first technology that helps prevent a truck from making a right turn when a cyclist or pedestrian is detected near the right side of the truck.

Mike Graham, senior vice president of supply chain and manufacturing at Meijer, said the company is glad to work with Freightliner and make progress toward sustainability goals.

“Through this partnership, we can help accelerate the industry’s transformation to electrification by applying valuable insights from data collected and real-world applications in a cold climate environment and make a meaningful difference when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Graham said. “We’re pleased to work with Freightliner to further put the eCascadia tractors into real-world applications outside of southern California as we look for solutions to achieve zero emissions.”

Meijer received the trucks earlier in December and celebrated the inaugural delivery with a 44,000-pound food donation to Gleaners Community Food Bank in Detroit.
Detroit also is home to Daimler Truck North America’s manufacturing facility, which develops ePowertrain components to integrate with the eCascadia trucks.
DTNA received the grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office and partnered with Meijer to partially fund the trucks and contribute to tracking the demonstration of the all-electric trucks under diverse climate conditions.

“Our goal is to provide our customers with the safest, most reliable and durable battery electric trucks to ensure their needs are met even for the toughest use cases,” said David Carson, senior vice president of sales and marketing for DTNA. “This delivery represents a significant milestone in our customers’ and also in our own journey to a zero-emission future.”
Wow that is some long term dedication by both companies. (Meijer & Freightliner)

Meijer became a test fleet for Freightliner in 2009 and was selected in 2019 to test the manufacturer’s battery electric semitrucks. After a successful testing process, Freightliner has included Meijer in its first rollout of the trucks.

I've stopped at many Meijer's charging our Tesla and appreciate their efforts. Always manage to purchase something when there.

What is Meijer?
Meijer is a family-owned, regional retailer based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We have more than 240 supercenters in six states including Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois and Wisconsin, and employ approximately 70,000 team members.

Tell me about Meijer’s history.
In 1934, Hendrik Meijer saw an opportunity to take care of the customers who visited his Greenville, Michigan barbershop. <snip>

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Happy that they have gone electric. Too bad Tesla didn't follow through in a more efficient manner. I thought they were a lead customer for the Tesla semi. My first encounter with a Tesla was at the Maumee (OH) supercharger when I talked the ear off of the man who was then Director of Logistics for Meijer. He may have convinced the Meijer CEO to buy a couple Teslas and to make things easier for him to make the rounds of Meijer locations they started to be a major host location for superchargers. Like many things Tesla, overpromised and underdelivered.
This was my recollection from 7 years ago.