Daimler just unveiled an electric truck to take on Tesla’s Semi
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Daimler has unveiled two new electric trucks — one of which will compete directly with Tesla’s semi-truck, the Semi.
The heavy-duty Freightliner eCascadia will have a 550 kWh battery pack with a range of 250 miles and produce 730 horsepower.
Heavy duty vehicles such as trucks, buses and even garbage trucks are already leading the battery-powered vehicle market in China.
By the end of 2017, there were more than 370,000 electric buses in China according to the Global EV Outlook published last month by the International Energy Agency.
The electric truck market has been slower to take off but a “growing number of electric heavy freight trucks have been developed for pilot projects”, the agency said. “There is a growing interest and commitment in developing mass production of electric trucks.”
That’s good news for ASX-listed producers of metals such as cobalt, lithium, graphite, nickel, copper and rare earths which are needed in batteries, car components and infrasttructure to support the global rollout of electric vehicles.
The International Energy Agency expects a “rapid ramp-up” in demand for minerals such as cobalt and lithium amid a revised expectation that electric vehicles on the road will number 125 million by 2030.
200 miles on a 90-minute charge
The new Daimler truck will be able to receive 200 miles of range from a 90-minute charge.
That’s less than Tesla’s Semi which will have double the range of the eCascadia, 500 miles, and be able to receive up to 400 miles of range from a 30-minute charge. It will also be able to accelerate from 0-60 mph in five seconds without any cargo and in 20 seconds while carrying 80,000 pounds of cargo.
But in February, Martin Daum, the head of Daimler’s truck and bus division, cast doubt on Tesla’s ability to deliver on the Semi’s impressive specs in an interview with Bloomberg.
“If Tesla really delivers on this promise, we’ll obviously buy two trucks – one to take apart and one to test because if that happens, something has passed us by,” he told the publication.
He also implied the Telsa Semi’s specs would break the laws of physics.
On Wednesday, Daimler also revealed the medium-duty Freigthliner eM2, which is designed for local and last-mile delivery services and will have a range of around 230 miles.
Daimler will give 30 prototypes of the electric trucks to early customers by the end of the year, and will begin series production for the eCascadia and eM3 in 2021.
“We are the undisputed global leader of the trucking industry and we intend to remain in that position with electric trucks and buses,” the company said in a press release. “We were first-movers on electric trucks and strive to set the standard in each relevant segment.”