Daimler and Tesla are set to up the battle for bragging rights in the electric truck market.
The German automotive giant, which owns Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner, Fuso, Western Star and Bharat Benz, is positioning itself to take on the technology titan Tesla in the heavy end of the electric market.
Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk confirmed via Twitter the company’s semi-trailer will be revealed in September and a ute is likely to be 18-24 months behind.
Tesla is preparing to meet demand in global markets like the U.S., Europe, and China, where vehicle emissions rules are getting tighter.
However, Daimler is making inroads to the electrified truck market. The company introduced its eCanter light duty electric truck last September. Since then, it has accumulated over 37,000 miles of testing on public roads in Germany and in Portugal.
Full production will be ready for 2019 – the same year Tesla aims to have its truck on the market.
The eCanter can go about 100km on a single charge, which is considered to be more than adequate for daily urban deliveries. Recharging can take place in about an hour through fast-charging equipment.
Daimler has also been testing out its medium duty Urban eTruck in German. That electric truck will be launched in the market during 2020, the vehicle maker said.
Tesla has been in competition in the trucking space for a while now. Last year in July, Musk confirmed that Jerome Guillen was in charge of the Tesla Semi program. Guillen had been a longtime engineer at Daimler, and had led the development of the successful Cascadia truck.
Daimler Trucks Asia boss Marc Llistosella is confident the well-established brand will not be pushed out by Tesla.
“In trucks, of course [Tesla’s] stepping into it, but we don’t see him as someone who is threatening us because you need a whole infrastructure. You need dealerships, you need infrastructure, you need maintenance,” Listosella said.
“In class 8, with Freightliner, we are the number one in America, so we have something to defend. In the smaller ones, the game is just starting.”