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.

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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.