Daimler Unveils Freightliner eCascadia, A Tesla Semi Rival


The biggest truck maker on the planet is going electric.

Daimler has unveiled its first all-electric semi, which it hopes will be just the thing to take the fight to Tesla’s already-announced electric semi truck.

The German company, which owns Mercedes, is the largest truck maker in the world, so the announcement of its first electrified products in the segment is an important step. Daimler currently has a 40 percent share of the US semi market, which is said to be worth close to £30 billion. So definitely worth investing in, then.

The firm has revealed its new 18-wheeler Freightliner eCascadia, which is slated to begin production in 2021, two years after the Tesla truck is supposed to hit the market. The European contender will start at a disadvantage, however, because it will only have about half the range of its American counterpart at ‘just’ 250 miles.

Also unveiled by Daimler was the medium-duty Freightliner eM2 106, which is set to have a range of around 230 miles on a full charge. The eM2 106 has been designed with local distribution in mind, which is something that analysts are calling the ‘sweet spot’ of the electric lorry revolution. Tim Denoyer, who is a senior analyst at consultancy firm ACT Research, says that it ‘makes an enormous amount of sense because it doesn’t have the long-range requirements, yet puts on enough miles on a daily basis where you can get fuel savings’.

Illinois-based Navistar International Corp is reportedly also developing an electric truck in partnership with Volkswagen and has set aside around £1.3 billion for the project which would be planned to enter production by next year. It is also working on autonomous vehicles and cloud-based drive systems which it hopes to implement by 2022.

Press blast below:

Daimler Trucks sets up global E-Mobility Group and presents two new electric trucks for the U.S. market

Daimler Trucks consolidates its global know-how for electric drivetrains in commercial vehicles in the new unit E-Mobility Group (EMG)

Gesa Reimelt new head of E-Mobility Group

Fully electric Freightliner eCascadia heavy-duty truck and medium-duty Freightliner eM2 presented in the U.S.

Electric innovation fleet of 30 vehicles will go to first customers before the end of 2018, series production planned beginning 2021

Martin Daum, member of the Daimler Board of Management for Trucks and Buses: “We are the undisputed global leader of the trucking industry and we intend to remain in that position with electric trucks. We were first-movers on electric trucks and strive to set the standard in each relevant segment in which we compete. With the formation of our new global E-Mobility Group, we will maximize the impact of our investments in this key strategic technology. Thus, we can pursue the best solutions in batteries, charging solutions and energy management.”
Stuttgart / Portland (Oregon) – Daimler Trucks is establishing a global organization for e-mobility, including a new leadership function. During today’s Capital Market & Technology Days in the U.S., Daimler Trucks also presented two new, fully-electric trucks from Freightliner, its leading U.S. truck brand. The world’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer presented the new Freightliner eCascadia, a heavy-duty electric truck for long-distance operations (>15 t GVW) in Portland (Oregon). A fully-electric variant of the Freightliner eM2 106 covers the medium segment (9 to 12 t GVW). Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) is planning to hand over an innovation fleet of around 30 electric trucks to its first customers in the U.S. in the course of this year. As is already the case with the fully-electric FUSO eCanter light truck and the medium Mercedes-Benz eActros, it is the company’s objective to gain experience in eTrucks by working together with customers to establish how electric trucks can be efficiently deployed in day-to-day transport operations.

With the two e-trucks from Freightliner, the Mercedes-Benz eActros, the FUSO eCanter, the fully-electric Mercedes-Benz Citaro city bus and the Thomas Built Saf-T Liner C2 Jouley school bus, Daimler Trucks & Buses already has the broadest portfolio of fully-electric commercial vehicles to be found anywhere.

Martin Daum, member of the Daimler Board of Management for Trucks and Buses, stated: “We are the undisputed global leader of the trucking industry and we intend to remain in that position with electric trucks and buses. We were first-movers on electric trucks and strive to set the standard in each relevant segment. With the formation of our new global E-Mobility Group, we will maximize the impact of our investments in this key strategic technology. Thus, we can pursue the best solutions in batteries, charging solutions and energy management.”

The new E-Mobility Group unit will consolidate the worldwide know-how of Daimler Trucks for electric drive systems

Daimler Trucks & Buses sees electric mobility as an innovation driver in the commercial vehicle industry and as a decisive factor for leading the transport sector into an emission-free future. In doing so, the following objective applies: e-mobility must be cost-effective – both for the customer and for the manufacturer.

Moving forward, the E-Mobility Group (EMG) will — across all brands and divisions — define the strategy for electric components, complete electric vehicles, and develop a standardized, global electric architecture similar to Daimler Truck’s global platform strategy for conventional engines and drive components. EMG is set up globally with employees working in various locations throughout the company’s worldwide development network, i.e. in Portland (U.S.), Stuttgart (Germany) and Kawasaki (Japan). Effective July 1st, Gesa Reimelt, who is currently head of Product Projects Powertrain & eDrive Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, will become head of this new, globally engaged and cross-divisional organization. In this function she will report to Dr. Frank Reintjes, head of Global Powertrain and Manufacturing Engineering at Daimler Trucks.

“We expect increasing demand for electric trucks and buses, and are also receiving these signals from our customers. Only manufacturers who lead the field in both conventional drive systems and electric drive systems are able to offer convincing solutions, technically and business-wise. With regard to conventional powertrains, we have always benefited from our worldwide platform strategy. We will also be taking this approach for electric drive systems in the future. To this end, we are establishing the E-Mobility Group in which our experts from all functions around the world will work together on the best e-systems”, said Frank Reintjes, member of the Divisional Board of Management, Daimler Trucks & Buses responsible for Global Powertrain and Manufacturing Engineering.

Freightliner eCascadia and eM2 for the NAFTA region

The Freightliner eCascadia is based on the Cascadia, the most successful heavy-duty long-distance truck (class 8) in the North American market. 730 hp is almost silently generated under the characteristically long, U.S.-style hood. At 550 kWh, its batteries provide enough energy for a range of up to 400 km (250 miles), and can be recharged to around 80 percent within 90 minutes to cover a further 320 km (200 miles).

The Freightliner eM2 106 is intended for local distribution operations and last-mile delivery services. The batteries of the new electric version provide 325 KWh for up to 480 hp. The range of the eM2 is around 370 km (230 miles). The batteries can be recharged to around 80 percent within 60 minutes, sufficient for a range of around 300 km (184 miles).

Frank Reintjes added, “With our trucks and buses we want to make our customers more succesful. This applies to both electric trucks and conventional powertrains. Hence, we designed the Freightliner eCascadia and the eM2 here in the U.S., according to the specific requirements of our customers. As the undisputed market leader in North America, we know that only trucks and buses that fully meet the needs of transport operators will prevail in the market.”

Before the end of this year, a total of around 30 units of these models will go to the first customers in North America. With this innovation fleet, DTNA is working with transport companies in day-to-day operations to find out more about transport assignments for emission-free trucks, in order to respond to customer needs even better in the further development of electric drive systems.

Categories: Daimler, Trucks

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70 Comments on "Daimler Unveils Freightliner eCascadia, A Tesla Semi Rival"

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I really like the fact they are building 30 units to put in real service for trials and evaluations.

Really was disappointed Tesla has only built two prototypes so far , but maybe that’s a good thing for a company with zero experience in class 8 trucks and absolutely no infrastructure to support anything. This market is a really long road for Tesla to be truly successful in.
Unlike their car business, every month that goes by they are falling farther behind in any kind of trucks used commercially.

Tesla’s semi has a major weight balance problem, and cannot get enough weight on the front axle, that is why Elon announced they are redesigning the Semi…

😆 😆 😆

Well, gotta hand it to the serial Tesla Hater cultists for one thing: They certainly are endlessly inventive in spewing out Big Lies!

Hey, how much money did you lose in the recent Tesla stock “short squeeze”, troll?

you ever consider responding with a level head? yes his claim without evidence looks ridiculous, and I just managed to say as much without looking like just as big an imbecile.

The only proper response to trolls is to laugh at them.

Sorry if you don’t understand why that is.

The proper response is to ignore trolls, but to each his own.

Considering that I own trucks, I know about weight and balance…

Trucks made by Tonka, maybe. 🙄

Pu-Pu, that is not trolling, that is factual, You can tell just by looking at the truck from a side profile. In a typical ICE semi nearly all the engine, transmission, radiator (heat exchangers) weight sits on the the front axle, and the fuel is stored with a front Bias. The Tesla Semi adds the electric drive units to the Axle housings in the back as unsprung weight. which is + or -1500Lbs in a sucky location, Then you have an 8800 Lb +++ battery that sits somewhere between the front and rear axle. The prototypes look like the batteries are centered between the front and rear, like Tesla cars. This does not put enough weight directly over the front axle to steer under hard acceleration on an uphill grade, I think they might be able to pull the front wheels off the ground under power if they had a heavy tongue weight and steep hill. My dump trucks are much longer wheelbase, and if they are off road and loaded with the balance point too far back, they will pull the left front wheel right off the ground pulling up hill. Out on a wet road, you cannot turn,… Read more »

So, if you repeat a Big Lie often enough, it becomes true?
😆 😆 😆

Why do you just argue, when you have no facts or experience on the subject? Elon stated they are redesigning the Semi, I told you why..

Dave, a few people think what I say about PUSHI PU is unfair – but you are seeing his argumentative style first hand here, having zero experience or familiarity with a subject yet claiming to be the ‘source authority’, or at least the smartest guy in the room if he can’t claim the former.

That said, my Hot Tub service guy says to NEVER buy a Diamler (Freightliner) truck. Their truck blew out its needle bearings at 120,000 miles, and their trucks are not driven hard, and all scheduled maintenance is properly done – as the story was related to me.

If they are this cavalier to the flagship products, then I wouldn’t trust any new electric version of the truck they come out with either.

I actually just laugh at Pu-Pu, he is just trolling me, and does not ever respond with real facts or information other then a quick google. I am not a fan of Tesla or Elon Musk so I must be a Russian troll, or paid by big oil… haha! Pu-Pu and Get Real are certain of this… I do not have any experience with Freightliner trucks, although in weigh stations I have talked to a few highway guys that had lots of good to say about Volvo trucks. I am not sure which needle bearings they would have trouble with… Could be axle? Some trucks have needle cam bearings as do most race engines, but I have not heard of too much trouble with those. I am am not a highway guy, our trucks are running between quarry and jobsite, and sometimes just on the job sites moving on site material. I currently have 3 Kenworth T-800, all with Cummins ISX engines. We have had emissions error messages, but no mechanical problem in the last few years. I had a Mack before that was a bit more troublesome. Never broke down, but it was hard to get it to not… Read more »

I think the needle bearings are on the valves – not sure if these are ‘interference’ engines or not but the end result was they needed to buy a whole different used engine at 120,000 miles which the company thought was way too premature and they’ll never be buying another Daimler Anything.

Wow, I have never experienced anything like that. We have 3 trucks and 10 pieces of iron, and have never experienced an engine failure, or anything major. We have never even had a track off any of our excavators, but we don’t keep them past 5000 hours.

I think Dave has a plausible point. Not trolling, but reasonable as to why the redesign. It should be considered before torching it. I don’t like the bickering and bashing, as the rest of you don’t either, but at least give an idea some thought before flicking your bic.

“that is why Elon announced they are redesigning the Semi…”

Breaking news from DNN (Dave’s News Network.) you seem to have scooped Google as they don’t seem to know about this announcement yet.

Just add 2 more motors up front! Make it a 6 X 6 Semi! That will help with more weight there, and give it some extra fixed gear ratio options! Maybe take it from 20 Seconds at 80,000 Lbs for 0-60, down to 15-16 seconds! And when Empty, down to 3-3.5 Seconds!

You’d need heavy motors, not Tesla super light ones!

I think the redesign will be cabover. The say it’ll work in Europe. Cabover will also get more weight on the front axle.

I wonder why they would do cabover, the ride quality is really sacrificed. My uncle had a Kenworth 100 when I was a kid (40 years ago), and even with an air ride seat (a new invention at the time), that truck hammered his body, he retired from trucking at 45, and had back and neck problems the rest of his life. I took our drivers to test drive the BYD tractor when it was on demo in Seattle, and it was all thumbs down experience. That will not be replacing the conventional truck at least in the states, where we have bigger roads and the long wheelbase is not such a problem. If I bought the BYD trucks, my drivers would quit… They did not like the BEV semi experience. The other issue with a cabover is length, in the USA (at least in WA state) if your truck is too short in length, you cannot license it for the max weight. This is due to weight distribution on bridges…

Bunny, I always appreciate your contributions to the discussion, since they come from someone with actual experience at being a commercial driver for heavy freight trucking, but here you seem to be off base.

Tesla actually has two prototype Class 8 heavy semi trucks which it is loaning out to various trucking companies for trials.

Daimler… has a nice “artist’s concept” render.

It’s the established heavy truck makers who are scrambling to follow where Tesla is leading… not vice versa!

You have very pertinent points about Tesla lacking the infrastructure to support a fleet of heavy trucks. No truck service centers, and as yet no Megachargers to charge their trucks. The lack of service centers with bays big enough to service a semi tractor is certainly something Tesla will have to deal with, going forward. And Tesla doesn’t have an assembly plant for large trucks; it’s not reasonable to think that’s going to be made on the same line as its cars.

But I think it’s safe to say that Tesla can overcome those obstacles faster and more easily than any diesel truck manufacturer can catch up with Tesla’s BEV tech!

Surely the batteries Daimler uses in its electric busses are easily up to task. They are used under harsher conditions with constant accelerating and regen.

1. No established truck maker, including Daimler, even seriously talked about putting a fully electric Class 8 heavy semi truck into production until after Tesla started letting trucking companies test its prototypes.

2. Buses are not called upon to push a load of 80,000 lbs down the road at highway speed, nor up a hill. In fact, we can reasonably argue that city buses are pretty light duty for large EV vehicles, given their large size, lower average speed, and the relatively low weight for a large vehicle.

Pu-Pu… Lying again… BYD has class 8 BEV trucks that have been in production for 2 years, so the argument could be made that Musk is just copying BYD… And the BYD Semi is not a wimpy 80K GCVW Tesla is talking about, but 120K GCVW, thats what I call a mans truck… You can order one today…

Hey, thanks for the heads-up about a BYD Class 8 truck!

Mr. Google says “BYD also is developing a heavy-duty trash truck and a Class 8 on-road tractor for the U.S. market, using a model already in service in China…”

So BYD does not actually have any street-legal Class 8 semi tractor which is available to buy in any first-world country, as you insinuated, but I for you, I suppose a half-truth is a personal best.

I hope you weren’t talking about BYD’s “yard mule” semi tractor, which of course isn’t street legal… were you? 😉


Are you saying that trucks operating in China does not count?

WTF, are you calling China 3rd world? Dude, you need to get out more…

Did you look at the article date… The truck is out, and i have driven one… BTW China is not 3rd world, well maybe western China still is…

Watch him argue that the cold war definitions still applies…

“So BYD does not actually have any street-legal Class 8 semi tractor which is available to buy …”

Go to BYD’s web page and there’s a big red ORDER button next to their street legal T9 Class 8 truck. I don’t know if they’ve sold any, though. They have sold T7s as well as the yard miles you mentioned.

They are selling them, and had one in Seattle for test drives, we tried it, but it really is nothing like what we are used to for comfort, etc. It would be rough for our application, my drivers would quit for sure.

Too funny. 90 mile range.

Good one!

Thats 100% more then the Semi that Tesla sells.. and actually 90 miles a day works for some applications… We did not like the trucks though… POS… rough riding compared to the Kenworth we use.

kudos for actually taking the BYD T9 out. As you know, its on steel all around, not built for driver comfort.
On the issue of driver comfort in a cabover, check out the “near perfect” Scania 500:
So, it is quite possible to build a truck that is a cabover with top driver comfort. In EU they are pretty much all on 4 point cab air suspension. Many have an air suspension option on the steer axle. Heck, Volvo will even build you a FH with air IFS if you don’t mind shelling out for it. But the professional road testers all said not to because the comfort improvement from the IFS on a new FH isn’t enough to be noticeable, i.e. they are already very acceptable.
So, not like the old US cabovers, which I imagine used to be torture on your body. Or the BYD.

And you just don’t understand how batteries work.

I breathlessly await you revealing your depth of knowledge on the subject. 😉

Daimler has shown one protoype, Tesla has shown two.

Truck makers are going for smaller city and regional delivery trucks instead – like Volvo – which makes much more sense. These are delivered to customers. Tesla has nothing in that size.

Daimler says they’ll have 30 in customer hands by year-end. Tesla’s customer tour revealed the need to redesign it.

An early redesign can be a good thing. I’m sure they have learned a lot from the prototypes they have. Since many trucks drive serious distances – they have to spend enough time for product testing.
If they release a sub par truck, it will affect their reputation and may affect sales of later models.

When they release a new product, I’m sure they were tempted to make a lot of changes. The other truck makers have used a step by step improvement for decades – to meet the customers demand.
An electric motor offers the possibility to do a lof of changes. It may be wice to perform a lof of market research, to see what the potential customer want and need.

The variety in trucks and their use is huge. One of the benefits of a classic truck is the ability to convert it for a special use, to cover custom needs.

Will be interested to see all the electric trucks, and see how they will adapt and shape the market.

A rising tide lifts all boats.. it’s happening..

Pretty much. I guess they don’t want Tesla to do to them in the Truck industry what they did to their cars sales.

Yay, they have a graphical rendering of the future vehicles, which look identical to the current model year with a faux grill. Wonder who gets these first thirty.

That Daimler can pump out 15x the number of usable prototypes to Tesla’s is a testimony to their obvious maturity and manufacturing capacity. However, it strongly suggests that their designs will be a retrofit approach. With that in mind, I do wonder how they will fit all the batteries into place.

“I do wonder how they will fit all the batteries into place.”

If they put the electric motors next to the drive axles, as Tesla has done, then that leaves almost all the room under the hood empty and available for battery placement. Daimler isn’t claiming as long a range as Tesla is, so my guess is there is enough space there for a smaller battery pack.

Not a “Tesla Semi Rival”, with half the range, and it will have no fast charging network, is more of an annoying tiny dog that wants to bite at Tesla’s ankles…

If you believe Tesla’s wild claims re the Semi.

Good luck on promised pricing, a range above 500 miles (Musk just promised that, it was 500 miles before) and wild shipping dates…


One thing is certain: Even Tesla’s wildest, most improbable claims are more believable and more likely to be true than all your serial Tesla bashing FUD posts!
😀 😀 😀

The Tesla Semi, needs a complete redesign, as Elon announced… I think they learned that you need weight ahead of the front axle…

unfortunately others seemingly unable to deliver the same product despite potentially more resources does beg the question as to why.

Why? Because of the principle of The Innovator’s Dilemma.


PP, couple of things here:
1. everyone has learned the lesson of the Innovator’s Dilemma, its MBA lore, execs know it, because the lesson is very well-known.
2. it always was a very particular set of circumstances that led to the dilemma in a few instances. However, there are also lots of cases of incumbents responding effectively to challengers (read Tellis and Golder “Will and Vision”; or Chandy & Tellis “Organizing for radical product innovation: The overlooked role of willingness to cannibalize.”). 3. the key issue is that incumbents won’t do it on their own – there has to be competitive pressure to force them – otherwise they will sit on their laurels. Tesla is the forcing function.

JB Straubel was asked about this in the past few weeks, said it was because competitors don’t have the battery technology Tesla has. Tesla has been investing heavily while competitors are buying batteries from suppliers. He said what’s on the market from suppliers won’t match Tesla battery performance.
[They are also starting with a R&D lag on motors, power electronics, integration. Competitors have tended to outsource heavily since electric vehicles haven’t been mainstream for them.]
At the AGM Musk mentioned some battery breakthroughs are coming in 2020 with a 30% increase in energy density. Later he tweeted the new chemistry will have ZERO cobalt. It’s a guess as to what that will be but it could be LNMO.
So, competitors have more resources – check. But they’ve only recently started spending much on EVs and everyone is currently outsourcing batteries. So Tesla has a competitive lead right now.

Why do these Daimler trucks need big fake grills with blue lights on them?

It takes a lot of cooling air to cool the batteries, motors, Inverters, power steering fluid, compressor, and have an A/C condenser

No semi truck designed from the ground up to be a BEV needs a grille that big. Only diesel semi trucks need to dump that much heat.

Do you have data? Statistics? Also if you notice in the picture, its not a wide open full airflow grill, part of it is just for looks, touching people like this design one the Tesla, goofy design, that does not work.

“It takes a lot of cooling air to cool the batteries, motors, Inverters, power steering fluid, compressor, and have an A/C cond”

Interesting that the Tesla semis that have been traversing the country don’t need big grills. Neither do those from Cummins, Thor, MAN, Nikola.

Better look again at the companies/trucks you mentioned, and also notice all of them have more mass over the front axle… Ding ding ding…

Not sure if this ‘Musk Musing’ has fallen by the way side or not, but if they are going to be ‘Megacharging Batteries’ (whatever that precisely means I don’t know and neither does anyone else), they are going to have to have some decent amount of cooling, either on or off board the truck. I think they were originally planning on-board coolers but that never made sense to me to cart all that stuff around when it could be done more effectively at the ‘megacharger’ itself.

You *are* making stuff up as you go…right?

Dave, that truck probably has a big chiller unit to keep all the components cool. BTW, I’ve been following some of your other blog comments regarding weight. Your numbers all check out on what the diesel components you’ve selected weigh. Except I add a DEF tank (with 10 gals DEF) and batteries and weight of the diesel tank. 2 key differences between you and I on the numbers. 1. You are are using the lightest possible configuration as a comparison point, which assumes that Tesla is competing against that configuration, down to you are picking either a light Paccar AMT or a manual box. I’m not so sure about that. Where I live I see a lot of Safeway supermarket trucks, and I’ve never seen one yet that isn’t a Volvo with a D13 in it (that’s a heavy beast + a heavy AMT). Freightliner serves this kind of market a lot (>40% share) and they don’t sell an 11L at all. This makes sense because in these kinds of applications the operators aren’t sweating it on weight, so they are not spec’ing for lightness. So how heavy are the ICE components on the TYPICAL competitor truck? I’ve been using… Read more »

Likely Daimler has just slapped a new name on one of its existing Class 8 diesel semi tractors, so they can pretend they actually have an EV semi tractor in development… as Vexar suggested in his comment above.

Daimlers truck might actually work from a weight balance perspective, unlike Tesla’s

There are valid arguments for weight distribution.
Yes, our friends at Tesla, could put more weight over the front wheels by placing battery modules up front.
And yes, there could be additional modules outboard of the frame between the rear and front wheels.
But that’s the beauty of starting with a clean sheet of paper. And I’m sure somewhere in the design shop is at least a couple people with both truck design and truck driving experience.

If you look at the Tesla Semi design, the front axle is pushed all the way forward… The Tesla semi does not have a solid bumper up front, so you need a crumble zone, and that puts the start of the battery about the centerline of the Front Axle. Thats not going to work, I will bet the redesigned Tesla semi will have a more conventional nose, and much more front overhang.

And yet, not mentioned here in this synopsis, or the comments I saw so far, mentioned that Daimler lost one of their Modern Truck Designers, to the Tesla Semi Program! He even introduced the Semis, in November!

Per “Daimler currently has a 40 percent share of the US semi market, which is said to be worth close to £30 billion. So definitely worth investing in, then.” And I think Trump just Told Germany they have Too Many Vehicles (or was it just “Cars”?) In America! So this will be another interesting Spat!

So Daimler should then just close its factories in Oregon where those truck are made?

They should probably increase the test fleet by at least an order of magnitude. Many markets and carriers will be quick to snatch them up and not want to return them, just like EV1.

On weights, at max load (80,000 GVW)
The axle weights are normally 12,000 (steers) 34,000 (drives) 34,000 (tandems) these weights are pretty much driven by DOT rules, some states have more leeway but the 80,000 gross weight is nationwide.

You don’t want to run at 14,000 steers
You run that heavy up front it’s a death trap if you lose a tire, about13,000 is literally tops on steers

On a standard class 8 sleeper type tractor bobtail the weight distribution is normally around 60/40 nose heavy but becomes balanced with a trailer

In WA state we run 105,500 GCWR, but we have 5 axle trucks (2 drop axles) and 3 axle trailers. We also run the wide steer axle tires so we can load them heavier. When we are off road hauling dirt on site we often have the solo over 75K GVW That would be a big ticket on the highway. :)~