Daimler Truck Exec: Tesla Semi No Threat To Daimler Electric Freightliner

4 months ago by Steven Loveday 16

Daimler Fuso eCanter

Daimler Fuso eCanter

Daimler’s investment in trucking, as well as dealerships, infrastructure, and maintenance capabilities may put it ahead of Tesla in the electric commercial trucking market.

Daimler hopes to begin mass-production of its light-duty (4,000-6,000 pound capacity) electric Fuso eCanter in 2019. The truck is currently in the testing stages on public roads in Portugal and Germany. It can travel about 62 miles on a charge, and charges in about an hour with a DC fast charger. Test vehicles have already accumulated some 37,000 miles.

Tesla

Circle the date: Tesla Semi debuts September 28th, 2017

Later in 2017, Daimler is prepared to launch a limited production run of the truck in New York, Tokyo, and Lisbon. The company says that Tesla and Elon Musk don’t possess the investments or resources to be a viable threat against the Daimler venture. Daimler Trucks Asia Chief, Marc Llistosella, shared (via Business Insider):

“In trucks, of course [Elon Musk’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.”

“It’s not so easy like a consumer good, it’s an industrial good, so it will be very difficult for him.”

Daimler has already taken numerous steps to expand into the commercial trucking market. Four brands now live under the company’s umbrella: Freightliner Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Trucks, BharatBenz, Western Star, and FUSO. FUSO is a Mitsubishi brand of which Daimler’s Freightliner has secured a 40 percent stake. The company was struggling with decreased demand of its various trucks, which are available in 172 global markets.

Daimler

Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck

Llistosella is also president and CEO of Mistubishi FUSO. He explained that the company will lease 150 trucks to several markets later this year, and 25 have already been secured by 7-Eleven stores in Tokyo. He shared:

“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.”

“We said, ‘just do a truck.’ Other companies are doing the same, let’s do it right, let’s be a frontrunner in something.”

Daimler plans to move forward with a full line of electric trucks in the future. Once battery tech improves and prices drop, the company hopes to release a heavy-duty truck as well. Freightliner tested the first semi-autonomous semi on public roads back in 2015, and Mercedes-Benz Trucks is in the testing stages with its fully-electric Urban eTruck, due to be released in 2020.

Aside from Tesla, Uber and Nikola Motors both have plans for electrified commercial trucks.

Source: Business Insider

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16 responses to "Daimler Truck Exec: Tesla Semi No Threat To Daimler Electric Freightliner"

  1. Mark C says:

    “Daimler plans to move forward with a full line of electric trucks in the future.” I can think of many reasons for this, most importantly is the number of cities around the planet that are starting to require zero emission trucks if they enter the city.

    Now, come September, if the timeline doesn’t get altered, Tesla will show their Semi Tractor and it will be ‘game on’ for the heavy truck industry.

    Next, I can hardly wait to see what happens in the light truck industry in the not too distant future. For sure, the incumbents won’t be happy to have their most popular, most profitable vehicle sales cannibalized.

    1. Mister G says:

      I can’t wait to see the day when toxic diesel exhaust clouds are gone from this planet.

      1. Kevin C. says:

        Yes!
        Diesel exhaust is poison.
        When will people realize burning it is not in their best interest?

        1. John Doe says:

          And now they have discovered that gasoline engines (modern ones with direct injection) release way more particles than diesel engines..
          The particles are super small, and will get deeper in the lungs, and may breach the cell/blood barrier..
          Electric (and H2) cars, trucks and planes can not come quick enough.
          Even a small gasoline lawn mower pollute way more then a long trip in a car.
          I just got an electric one, and what a difference. Low noise, no fumes, very low maintenance.. just like an electric car.

          1. Bill Howland says:

            Yeah John Doe, I just bought a SNAPPER SXDWM82K ’82 volt’ 21″ walk behind mower to replace a 6 year old Toro ECYLCLER that only had a 1/3 horsepower motor (severly underpowered) – which still worked, but I gave it to a friend – and took the opportunity to get a decent, midgrade (not a toy) electric cordless.

            The thing has about the same power as your typical 3 1/2 hp economy gas mower, so it is finally competitive with the gas models. Its heavy steel deck and decently sized blade means I’ll be able to sharpen it without it being knocked out of ballance.

            The thing is pricey ($549), and only includes 1 – 2 ampere-hour battery. Since I have a very large lawn I also paid and extra $280 for the 4 ampere-hour battery – that recharges in around an hour in the included fast charger (3 amp draw from a 115 volt recepticle). Go to mowersdirect.com for my reviews of the 4 items if you’re interested.

            1. Mikael says:

              Why do it yourself when an electric robot mower can do it for you?

              I remeber when I went electric ~20 years ago, then you had to still mow it yourself.
              Now it is like a perfect golf green all the time 🙂

  2. ThombDeBhomb says:

    “In trucks, of course [Elon Musk’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.”

    Needing those things didn’t stop Tesla from stepping into the car market.

    1. CHris says:

      And most likely an e-truck will need much less attention then a conventional one.
      No engine, no gear shifter, no retarder e.g.
      So I think that the job of keeping an electric truck on the road is much easier then a normal one, but we’ll see.

      1. John Doe says:

        I’m sure it will be less maintenance and lower running costs – as long as the batteries last for a long time, AND does not require too much downtime waiting for charging.

        I think hydrogen will be a solution for many trucks in the future too, due to 3 factors. Fueling is fast, cost of vehicle can be devided on an insane number of kilometers they drive during the lifetime of the truck. There is sometimes an abundance of electric energy generated by for example wind turbines. Sometimes the owners of a turbine gets paid to stop the electric generation of power! If this is converted to hydrogen insted (even though the efficiency is low in two steps with hydrogen, with generation of H2 and convertion from H2 to electricity in the fuel cell) prices will be lower in the future.
        Toyota claims the cost of a hydrogen car is 1/50th of what it used to be, and they plan to cut cost even more. Time will tell.

        If they can make a commercial grade electric truck that can last the same as a conventional truck – they will have success.

        I know some truckers, and they say they need to drive about 120-200 000km a year to be profitable.
        With lower running costs, they may drive less and get the same profit – or drive the same and make more money. Until everybody has similar equipment.
        By then I think some of the cargo will be computer controlled, and no driver needed. Not for all, but for some of the trips. Still need people to load and unload goods at customers. Automatic loading and unloading exist aleady at terminals.

        How many km does a battery last, in a truck do you think?
        600 000km?

        1. MaartenV-nl says:

          A long distance semi drives should be able to drive ~1,000km per day. It needs a 1,000-1,200kWh battery to do that.
          Tesla expects its batteries to last 5,000-7,000 charging cycles.
          That is over 5 million km, probably enough for most truckers.

          What the Mercedes manager did not mention is battery prices. At the moment Tesla batteries can be $50-$100kWh lower in price than competing batteries.

          On a model S100 competing with the future MB S-class BEV that is just $5k-$10k on a >$100k car.

          On a semi that is $50k-$100k disadvantage for Mercedes. They need a lot of very nice dealers and service centers to overcome that.

        2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          John Doe said:

          “I think hydrogen will be a solution for many trucks in the future too, due to 3 factors.”

          You’re ignoring two things:

          1. The cost of hydrogen fuel is something like 2-4 times as expensive as the amount of diesel needed to run the truck the same number of miles. And due to basic physics and basic economics, that equation isn’t going to change significantly in the future.

          2. Long distance trucking is very sensitive to the cost of fuel.

          The “hydrogen economy” is a hoax.

          Hydrogen will never be a practical fuel. That’s a fact, not just an opinion.

        3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          How many km does a battery last, in a truck do you think?
          600 000km?

          Given that semi trucks are on average, in the U.S., driven about three times as far per year as the average car, my “napkin math” suggests that a BEV semi battery pack should last about 6 years before needing replacement. Given the expected lifetime of a semi tractor, that suggests it will need two battery pack replacements during its lifetime.

          And that replacement cost is far higher than the amount of money saved using electricity instead of diesel. This is why no large trucking fleets have switched over to BEV trucks, and it looks like they won’t until either the cost of batteries comes down quite a bit, or batteries are improved to last much longer, or both.

  3. menorman says:

    Daimler hopes to begin mass-production of its light-duty (4,000-6,000 pound capacity) electric Fuso eCanter in 2019. The truck is currently in the testing stages on public roads in Portugal and Germany. It can travel about 62 miles on a charge, and charges in about an hour with a DC fast charger. Test vehicles have already accumulated some 37,000 miles.

    Two years too late if they want to actually be competitive.

    1. MaartenV-nl says:

      Renault starts deliveries of its ZE-Master later this year. I don’t know of another carmaker with an electric light truck scheduled before 2020.

      I whish they are earlier, but they are in time to compete.

  4. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    “In trucks, of course [Elon Musk’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.”

    This is one of the reasons why I’ve predicted that Tesla will show just a prototype semi tractor this September, not a production-intent vehicle. We know that Tesla is gearing up to produce the Model 3; there are stories all over the place about all the things Tesla is doing to prepare for that production.

    There isn’t anything like that for any truck from Tesla. Not one single thing. Of course this is conjecture on my part, but all the signs I see point to a prototype, not something that fleet operators will be able to order or even put in a reservation for.

  5. Chris says:

    The difference with trucking and cars is this. With a car you have to offer refueling anywhere. With trucks you can target markets that can use the cost savings and start placing strategic fueling stations.
    Now you wonder why this is an issue. I have a feeling Tesla will go with battery swapping. Using their already established charge network they will simply add truck swap stations at key locations. From here they simply expand to markets where the money makes sense for.

    As for battery costs, they come down every year. Tesla can ink deals with trucking companies leasing the batteries. As battery costs come down their profits will rise and battery costs always come down.

    The battery leasing will dramatically lower the up front costs along with all the other savings. As Tesla adds more battery swap locations companies wont have a choice. The costs will be too high on the ICE side.

    As for show rooms and such, well its not a car market. They don’t have to sell everyone, just a few businesses to start. Then the market will come to them.

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