Tesla’s lead will keep eroding with each delayed reveal.
Much of Tesla’s sky-high valuation banks on the fact that it’s been a leader in the push for electric vehicles for quite some time, but the fact that it’s lagging behind means that the competition has time to catch up. If you’re a company as big, experienced, and vested in being a part of the future as Daimler is, that small nook of time is all you need to get ahead. Tesla, after all, doesn't have the ability to scale up as quickly as the German auto giant, so it's used that time wisely to try and get ahead.
At the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, Daimler Trucks-owned Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC) took the time to unveil the E-FUSO Vision One, an all-electric heavy-duty truck with a range of 217 miles per charge. The E-FUSO Vision one is capable of fitting 300 kWh batteries in place of an engine, which enables it to carry 11-ton loads over its 200+ miles of range. That’s only two tons less than diesel equivalents, all thanks to the electric torque the motors have on tap. The E-FUSO Vision One represents the top of the truck maker’s range and represents MFTBC’s commitment to electrify the rest of its truck and bus lineup in the coming years. So why can’t Daimler go all out on an electric truck right now?
That’s mainly because electric trucks are much more difficult to develop than electric cars. While automakers can get away with offering mainstream customers EVs that can travel a little over 200 miles per charge, trucks need to cover many times that mileage per day and trucking companies pressed for time may not find lengthy recharge times to be practical or financially viable. For now, the E-FUSO Vision One is perfect for regional distribution within cities rather than for inter-city voyages. Daimler thinks it will be four or so years until its electric truck technology has matured to the point that it can be used for longer trips. That doesn't mean that an electric truck isn't available right now, though.
Commercial buyers interested in smaller electric trucks should look to the FUSO eCanter, a fully electric truck by the same truck maker that debuted in September of 2017 in New York and has already been delivered to customers like UPS. With bigger corporations and small-time startups all vying to be the leader of the electric truck revolution, Tesla better hurry up and debut its electric semi if it hopes to continue disrupting the industry. Tesla Truck renderings by Piesert Design.