Daimler Doubts Tesla Semi Claims As eActros Begins Trials

Red Tesla Semi exterior front


Mercedes-Benz eActros

Mercedes-Benz eActros (Image Credit: Daimler)

Daimler plans to sell battery-electric semi trucks by 2021 and believes that Tesla’s earlier timeline and vehicle specs are unrealistic.

Daimler, the world’s most substantial truck manufacturer, just announced that it will begin customer trials of its new pure-electric eActros semi truck (to learn more, follow the link below). The truck was the first of its kind to be revealed to the world back in 2016. Despite being ahead of Tesla with its unveiling, the truck maker says it needs the next few years for testing and will bring the vehicle to market by 2021. Tesla’s Elon Musk, on the other hand, is shooting for delivery of “his” electric semi beginning in 2019.

LEARN MORE: The Daimler eActros Electric Truck Begins Customer Trials

Tesla Semi

Tesla Semi

Daimler’s head of trucks, Martin Daum recently told reporters that if Tesla achieves its target date and specs, his company will have made some terrible estimations. He admits that the eActros doesn’t stand up to the range that Tesla is advertising (up to 500 miles on a single charge), but he feels that with current battery tech, the Silicon Valley company can’t possibly achieve that number within the next year or two. Baum stated:

“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. But for now, the same laws of physics apply [in Germany and in California].”

The eActros will have a maximum range of 124 miles (200 kilometers). So, it’s not just a little bit of a difference, but instead, not even in the ballpark. Daimler has budgeted some $616 million to make this effort possible and will work through customer trials for the next two years or more before the trucks are ready for mass production. Baum continued:

“Trucks have to run for 1.5 million miles and then there’s a used-truck buyer too after that. We don’t know for sure how batteries for trucks will react after being in use for four to five years — it’s very complex.”

The automaker revealed that, like Tesla, there will be two different size semis available (18 tons and 26 tons). In terms of charging, a figure of three to 11 hours was specified.

Source: Bloomberg

Categories: Daimler, Tesla, Trucks

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66 Comments on "Daimler Doubts Tesla Semi Claims As eActros Begins Trials"

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In the spirit of competition being good, then good luck to Daimler!

But it sounds pretty desperate for a Daimer spokesman to insinuate Tesla’s claims for its Semi Truck violate the laws of physics. We can expect companies to trash-talk their competition, so FUD may be expected. But FUD which is almost facepalm ridiculous… well, that is not expected from a major company like Daimler. 🙁

Looks like Tesla has Daimler quite worried.

Magnus H

If it’s ridiculous or not, we’ll know in two years. For now, my bet is on Daimler.

Robert Weekley

Short of a claim for a Million Mile Warranty on the Trucks battery, which will need actual Customers using the Tesla Semi to disprove, which aspect do you find challenging?

Thor Truck is offering a 100 Mile Range Truck for the same $150,000 as Tesla’s 300 Mile Range Truck; and they also are offering a 300 Mile Range Truck, but it is priced at some higher price: $250,000, was that number I remember! Thor has no 500 Mile Range Truck Offering.

And so, little Tiny, never heard of until lately, truck company – is Not A Problem for Daimler, but old MB Partner, Supplier, and Manufacturer of actual retail vehicles, with a Truck at better prices and ranges than Thor, is a challenge for them?

Sounds like a variation of ‘D’Oh! Why did we sell all our shares!?!?’ And ‘Maybe we should take more tours of the Tesla Plants!’

Or, they just are starting to wonder where did Elon Come From, that he figures out Chit that WE Can’t???


Million miles is for drive train, batteries are NOT drive train any more than a fuel tank is.


“…my bet is on Daimler.” then you will lose bigly


Daimler did qualify its claim “with current technology”. And therein lies the difference. I think the only way that Tesla makes good is that in 2 years they expect to have next generation batteries.

Robert Weekley

Some have said that, but others have hacked the math and posted they can see it getting 500 Miles Range, with UNDER 1 MWh worth if batteries, and if the chassis and Cab are light enough, still get a full usable Payload.

So, if one is in Trucking, it would be wise to have a serious conversation with the Tesla Semi Team, and determine any Spec Shortfall Guaranties, or just get your reservation in, and test it to your needs!

Most agree it is a Day Truck, as Elon stated that 80% of all truck trips are under 250 Miles, so a single charge could do you out and back, for an overnight charge! Also, it has no Sleeper, so why chase the other 20% of Long Haul, just yet!?

Bill Howland

One of the claims of the Tesla Semi that made me flinch a bit was the fast charging speed.

I’d like to see how hot the batteries are allowed to get during this time – especially when doing so in places like Tucson, Arizona.


“I think the only way that Tesla makes good is that in 2 years they expect to have next generation batteries.”

You’re certainly in good company; a lot of people are predicting that.

But all the actual evidence I see points to Tesla merely having somewhat cheaper 2170 Gigfactory One batteries in two years. If Tesla anticipated a quantum jump in battery tech, they wouldn’t have invested billions of dollars in a huge factory to make batteries using current tech.


shockingly reading and comprehension (as opposed to knee-jerk reactionism) is not your strong suit. as the article states that is not “a Daimler spokesman” that’s “Daimler’s head of trucks, Martin Daum.”



“Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.” — Mark Twain

earl colby pottinger

Please correct me if I am wrong, but is this not also the same company that said it can’t deliver electric trucks to the Post Office, so the Post Office had someone else build them the trucks and are using them TODAY!

If they can’t deliver a truck that even the Post Office can design and get built and use today, what does that say about their abilities to evaluate competition claims.


It means that Dalimer is NOT leading, as they are now in EV Tesla Ketchup mode, while Relishing in their ICE dominance and complacency.

All this Dalimer EV Truck Hot Dog slinging, without a bun, is going to be interesting to watch where Dalimer gets their stick(batteries), for their HDOAS!

Hope they Got Lemonade?


Don’t forget Daimler earns money with diesel trucks. The last thing they need is disruption. So their own plan was to go it slowly.

But now there is this #*∞º≠ disruptor, who has nothing to loose…


When ever Elon has delivered something on time and on budget? You need to be complete fools to take his dreams and BS aspirations for stock pumping purpose as something that will really happen, over and over again the same old story. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

Battery breakthroughs that would work at truck scale and budget are not within 2 year horizon either. A decade later, maybe.

earl colby pottinger

The problem that statement is:

When has he never delivered what he claimed can be built?

Answer: NEVER.

You can complain about the timing.

You can complain about the budgeting.

But if you don’t produce electric trucks you better not complain when you suddenly see a huge drop in demand for your products.


If you ever watch some of the videos of these owner/operators lamenting about the spiraling maintenance costs of their bought or leased Big Rig Semi Trucks, you will know that Dalimer is going to have get into the EV early mover Truck rollout and deployment. If they miss out on this once in a lifetime chance and opportunity, to retain their established customer base, they are going to have an epic and historic Kodak Moment.


When ever Elon has delivered something on time and on budget?

GF1 started production on time in spite of an unrealistic timeline.

On July 28, 2017 Elon delivered the first TM3s on time and on budget. Actually they were months ahead of the originsl schedule.
Anyone knowledgeable on the subject knows Elon has consistently delivered on the promised specs and is getting better at FCS guesstimates. What he is lacking continues to be on ramp up schedules. With the Tesla semi we don’t have a ridiculous promise on the ramp and there doesn’t even need to be one. 5-10 semis per day are all that would be necessary.


“When ever Elon has delivered something on time and on budget? You need to be complete fools to blah blah blah…”

Sorry, can’t hear you. Too busy thinking about the implications of Tesla’s rapidly increasing production and sales, especially with the Model 3 taking over the #1 selling spot. 🙂

Tesla’s global automobile sales totals:
2012: 2650
2013: 22,300
2014: 31,655 (+41.95%)
2015: 50,580 (+59.8%)
2016: 76,230 (+50.7%)
2017: 101,312 (+32.9%)


The proof of the pudding is in the eating … in 2019, Tesla will prove and Daimler will know.


I think Daimler Again, Shall get a Heapin Helpin of “Humble Pie”…Let’s Not forget that “TESLA” Made Daimler’s 1st Electric (Smart) Car Happen, When Daimler Didn’t believe EV’s were Possible, Only because they themselves were “Not” Capable,They Hired “little Tesla” to get the job done!..Btw..Does the “Jos. Louis” Story Ring a Bell? When The Germans Thought that were the Greatest..


Yeah – and then we remember that there is enough humble pie to go around when last time Daimler saved Tesla from bankruptcy


That Is “GROSSLY INACCURATE”!If you Research it ypu will learn that When No One would Give TESLA Money …ELON MUSK Was the One That Bet The Farm On Tesla,”NOT DAIMLER” !!! Daimler Made 25 Million Dollars On Tesla Stock PLUS : Got their EV Built By Tesla ! Watch The Video ! & Find it Yourself! It’s There!..

Robert Weekley

It was After Elon bet the farm, And was less than a Week to not meeting Payroll, that MB agreed to have Little Tesla built their 1st Smart EV, that they gave them $50 Million, and After that, Toyota gave them another $32 Million!

It was, by Elons own words, the MB cash injection that kept him from selling out to his buddy, Mr..Google, just to stay afloat with Tesla!


you are purposely confusing the time frame …Toyota & Daimler Gave Tesla Money To Engineer & Build Power trains ONLY & bought Tesla Stock, Once Tesla Proved Their Powertrains were Worthy , Musk Had Long before Bailed Tesla Out. .They Did NOT need a Bailout At This Time, They now needed Toyota & Daimler as Customers, which They Got . …………Cheers… Mr. Moderator , I hope this Sufficient to your standards this time>>


That Is “GROSSLY INACCURATE”!If you Research it you will learn that When No One would Give TESLA Money …ELON MUSK Was the One That Bet The Farm On Tesla,”NOT DAIMLER” !!! Daimler Made 25 Million Dollars On Tesla Stock PLUS : Got their EV Built By Tesla ! Watch The Video & Find out for Yourself! It’s There!..


One More Thing, “Never Underestimate your Opponent” .


Daimler didn’t have the first commercial electric truck (in 2016). You only have to look at Smith Electric, with its first truck in 2006.

Robert Weekley

Yup! I remember those!


Thank you!

Yeah, Daimler isn’t even trying to enter the market for a Class 8 heavy BEV semi tractor. Only Tesla is trying to do that.

And if you’re going to talk about smaller freight trucks, then yes, Smith Electric Vehicles got there years before Daimler. Admittedly Smith couldn’t get enough orders to stay in production, but it wasn’t for lack of trying!

Donald Boettcher

Same way United Launch Alliance didn’t believe in the rapid timelines of SpaceX. Daimler will lag in the electrification of tractor-trailers the same way Daimler now lags behind Tesla in electrification of automobiles. Sounds like, from the perspective of Mr. Baum, Daimler are now realizing they will be unable to compete with Tesla.


Well, Daimler has other standards they are adhereing to. As they state, they do 2 years of tests with several vehicles. Tesla simply doesn’t have enough prototypes to do that.

If they were willing to take more risks, they could bring it out faster. As it stands, they are not. And matter of fact – they don’t have much reason to. They have a working business and looking at Tesla, even if they bring out the Semi in 2019, it will be a while before they can produce it in large numbers.

Don’t forget that while Model S and X are really successful, all luxury car makers have increased their sales numbers and profits at the same time as well. This is not a Tesla wins – Daimler looses situation.

Sometimes it is prudent to let another company try things – and then follow in their footsteps. There is a first-mover advantage. But there is also a second-mover advantage. And the incumbent can afford to be the second mover, while the challenger cannot.

earl colby pottinger


Second mover advantage tends to go away if you are not the only second mover. And that is a problem, there are a number of companies that plan to bring out electric trucks.

If Tesla makes the market look good than those other manufacturers get the backing to increase their production too. Suddenly, Daimler instead of just competing against Tesla also finds itself competing against a bunch of different trucks. That will make it harder to get people to notice their designs.

Mulkku Vittuun

Daimler beat Tesla to market. Tesla Semi is still vaporware.

Not vaporware. Tesla truck has been in testing with Truck Carriers for some time now (the customers were brought in early). All aspects of the truck save three have been confirmed – range, batt weight, batt cost. Batt on 2170 based battery pack is about 900lb/100KWh. Tesla states truck draws less than 2KWH/mile full load. This puts the pack weight at 9,000 lb or less today for full 500mi range. Add weight of 4 motors and subtract truck diesel engine and your have a wash. Subtract drive shaft, radiator, 100gal diesel tank with fuel and fuel system (800lb), exhaust system and other unneeded parts and the deficit is probably down to a few thousand pounds. At worst, this makes it competitive for all but max weight hauls (high density cargo)- Tesla claims negligible deficit. Range is simply a matter of putting a series of packs totaling 9,000lb batt in a truck chassis – fairly easy given the space under the carriage. the final item then is cost. With gigafactory fully online (late 2019) They have to restrict the batt cost to the $60K+ differential on price differential with standard truck plus some(remainder of the truck being cheaper to manufacture than… Read more »

“$67/kwh by 2019. Last reports were under $140/kwh”
Incredibly credible with skyrocketing raw material costs 😉

To infinity and beyond, GO TESLA! PUMP THE STOCK!


Several years back, lithium prices tripled over five years while, over the same period, battery prices fell.

It’s almost like the cost of raw materials is only a minority fraction of the total cost of making batteries… /snark

Only EV bashers and speculative mineral exploration stock pumpers try to make anyone believe that EV battery prices are actually going to go up when they are consistently going down.


Vaporware? Perhaps you should re-visit the actual definition of that buzz word. Functional Tesla semi prototypes are up, running, and undergoing testing.


“Tesla Semi is still vaporware.”

Do you actually not know the meaning of the term “vaporware”, or are you just trolling?


Look at both pictures and think about that. The Tesla is so different looking. The Daimler E-actros must have a horrible drag ratio. So imagine inside if the electronic is not better optimized than the streamlining…

Mister G

Daimler has zero imagination and innovation in their electric semi I hope Tesla can produce 200,000 electric semis per year by 2025 CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP FOLKS


Truck speed limit is 80 km/h max in Germany and most of the Europe. Speed limiters are mandatory. And trucks like this will be city delivery trucks in the first place, as in city they provide benefits of zero tailpipe emissions (think pending diesel ban in some cities), and fuel economy advantage in slow stop-go traffic. It is hard to compete with diesel fuel consumption on sustained higher speeds.

There is nothing to gain by adding some fancy and expensive aero package to such slow speed van. You may just loose in the end because of extra weight and extra upfront cost.


p.s. Truck length limits are lower in Europe than US as well. You can’t use some long nose American truck cabin, it won’t work with standard trailers or won’t be able to navigate narrow streets and sharp turns in city in case of van.

earl colby pottinger

You do realize that both Tesla and Daimler sell to countries that are not in Europe.

So if Daimler loses the foreign sales it is going to suffer a major drop in it’s value.

mr. M

Europe hast different length Limits for Trucks than US. Therefore the cd of US Trucks is Always better due to laws.


Daimler’s head of trucks Martin Daum said:

“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. But for now, the same laws of physics apply [in Germany and in California].”

So Daimler Truck is advertising Tesla Semi to Daimler’s customers and the general trucking market as being so innovative and ahead of the norm (relative to what Daimler EV Truck has) that Tesla Semi seems to transcend the laws of physics.


Had Elon Musk himsel made that claim in an ambien induced tweet it would make sense and serve as a great marking poke at Daimler Truck.

Did someone at Tesla pay Daum big $ under the table to positively promote Tesla Semi in that way or is Daum dumb? Either way, Daimler Truck doing a great job hyping Tesla Semi!


CDAVIS said: “…is Daum dumb…”

I was a bit harsh there… Daum.

Daum is likely a smart guy very frustrated with what Tesla Semi is claiming it’s going to deliver to the market… he likely has old-school Daimler engineers telling him Tesla Semi is a Musk fantasy… that Telsa Semi can’t be done because if Daimler can’t do it nobody can… a legacy mind-think constraint thing.


I think Daum is just honest.

If your thinking is purely and only about electric, as it is with Tesla, if you build your own batteries, if your aim is to clean transport and not profit (other then have the money for investment), if you’ve never built trucks before and have no ancient DNA, you can come up with things that are different and maybe better out of the box.

The Tesla Semi specs and prices are hard to believe. But it was also unheard of that a rocket company could bring down launch costs to 20% of their peers. But SpaceX did that.

Let’s not call anyone dumb. Or a liar. Let’s wait and see.

Mister G

Elon Musk is changing the world and many people don’t like change LOL CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP FOLKS


“Let’s not call anyone dumb. Or a liar. Let’s wait and see.”

How many times people need to be lied to to continue “wait and see” approach for yet another blatant lie in row?


Yes, you have lied to us way too many times zzzzzzzzzzzz.

Don’t think I’ve ever seen a more ignorant poster, its willful and looks like the paid shill stuff. I know Dominick doesn’t like that but lets not lie. You don’t have a clue. Digressing, range and cost and weight have actually been specified but not locked in. Weight won’t be more than a regular semi. And Musk has said he is confident they can beat specified targets in other areas. I saw an automotive engineer break down before the unveil of the Tesla Semi how even 1100 miles per recharge was possible within cost constrains with current tech- he was thinking of modular batteries that were hot swapped so to speak- rolled out of the front of the vehicle and acting as frame support members. The MIT Tech review stuff is pure shill stuff because MIT is petrol university- they aren’t credible on this stuff as they’ve proven over and over again. But here is the thing on MB. They need to go ahead and cancel that lame product. Its not even aerodynamic its pathetic. And the stuff this Daum guy is saying is dishonest to the max. He may be trying to protect MB’s stock price but its just… Read more »

“How many times people need to be lied to to continue ‘wait and see’ approach for yet another blatant lie in row?”

Indeed. So why do you keep posting B.S. that is just one blatant lie after another, all in a row? Do you think no one notices?


“If Tesla really delivers on this promise, we’ll obviously buy two trucks”

Have they put down their reservations yet? Because they are going to have to wait in line a long time if they are waiting until it comes out to put down their reservations. Or pay a huge premium in the used market.


“he feels that with current battery tech…”

Tesla has repeatedly stated that they have battery improvements that they are working into production that are based upon work done by both Jeff Dahn and his team at Dalhousie University, and also joint efforts with Panasonic that have been ongoing for years.


If Daimler is just buying off the shelf batteries, they are likely at a significant disadvantage.


This video has the model 3 collectors car. Near the end.

filip bjurling

Batteries already exist. It could be built today already, that’s not my concern. My concern lies in teslas production. Will they be able to produce?

Micke Larsson

They will only have to produce enough to make other manufacturers scared and accelerate their time frames.


When you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. Otherwise, pound the table.


You can see that Daimler has just retrofitted their standard truck, no innovative design or anything. Tesla has built a new EV from the ground up. Chalk and Cheese, and this is what the traditional manufacturer is too scared to do, or too limited for whatever reason to do.
Also, Tesla takes full advantage of the EV drivetrain, eg: regen. But Daimler didn’t even have regen even though that is such an advantage in city stop/go traffic.
And the final thing, Tesla had a semi rig, not a city run about. They are different trucks. Why would Daimler be worried about Tesla when they are building totally different trucks? Now if Tesla reveals the same sort of truck (which I’m surprised they haven’t) then they could be plenty worried.

Larry Al

I belive a major reason established auto manufacturers are choose to install electric modifications, is to avoid rendering their existing manufacturing equipment obsolete. if they start with an electric truck built from the ground up, it would require rebuilding major parts of their assembly process. This not an inexpensive process.


This is similar to their current car EV offering, a 100 mile B class compared to Tesla’s 310 mile Model 3. Good luck Daimler


What law of physics do they think Tesla is violating? I think Tesla can hit those performance characteristics if they are willing to stuff enough batteries into the truck.

The key technology seems to be the gigafactory. If Tesla can pump out batteries fast enough and cheap enough, then Tesla can deliver. Daimler is dependent on outside suppliers for batteries and no one else has tried to scale up and automate up as much as Tesla has.

Then again, the Gigafactory factory has not met expectations but they are installing new equipment in this month so hopefully that will work.


Gigafactory exists and is still being built

Expectations will be met when it is entirely up and running to it’s fullest capacity


“What law of physics do they think Tesla is violating? I think Tesla can hit those performance characteristics if they are willing to stuff enough batteries into the truck.”

Right, there’s no question that Tesla’s claims fit comfortably within the laws of physics. The only question is whether or not Tesla can deliver at approximately the estimated price, which is surprisingly low.

Another Euro point of view

The only material difference in commercial performances of electric vehicles is battery specs, so cells specs. If Tesla announces specifications that Daimler can’t match then it would mean that Tesla has a battery cell in development that no one of the big battery manufacturers can match, possible but I understand one can doubt. I mean Elon is not known for having issue with a little reality field bending efforts from time to time, and also, the only other technological promise Elon has made, those self driving achievements, are still to be delivered. So yes that Daimler guy has a case for doubting.