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Daimler Truck North America is leading the charge from its Swan Island headquarters.

COURTESY PHOTO: KOIN 6 NEWS - All-electric freight trucks are being developed and built in Portland.From its headquarters on North Portland's Swan Island, Daimler Truck North America has ambitious goals for moving the nation's freight. The next generation of large electric vehicles is being developed right here.

The company's Freightliner and Western Star brands are manufactured in Portland and at several plants across the country, employing 3,000 workers in Portland and southwest Washington.

Freightliner was born 80 years ago, in 1942. The former Consolidated Freightways started producing trucks in Northwest Portland and quickly became among the world's leading heavy vehicle manufacturers.

"From about 1965 to 2021 we built about half-a-million vehicles across both Freightliner and Western Star Brands," said Jessica Landrum, a training supervisor for Daimler Truck North America.

Portland native Leland James founded the company in Salt Lake City and brought the truck manufacturing operation home.

Nate Hill, who is helping to create an infrastructure for Daimler trucks and other electric vehicles, said Swan Island's Electric Island is "really the first of its kind in the entire United States."

Hill said they stayed in Portland "even though there were options to move elsewhere at different times."

Electric Island is a partnership with Portland General Electric to put truck charging stations everywhere and take Daimler Truck North America into the future.

"By 2039," Hill said, "We would like for all of our products to be zero emission vehicles. Generally, we're trying to do the right thing for the environment."

Daimler Truck North America is a part of Portland history and America's transportation future. The first Freightliner electric semi-trucks are expected to be delivered within the next few weeks.

KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Pamplin Media Group.

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