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Daimler Unveils Two Electric Freightliners To Fight The Tesla Semi

Electric Car / 9 Comments

The electric version of the Freightliner Cascadia boasts a range of up to 250 miles.

Before Tesla unveiled its electric Semi truck, Daimler announced the FUSO eCanter program, a small electric truck designed for urban routes with a 62-mile range and a load capacity of up to three and a half tons. The larger all-electric eTruck had a 26-ton capacity and a 212-kWh battery pack providing 125 miles of range, but neither posed much of a threat to the Tesla Semi. Daimler has also been pessimistic about Tesla's lofty claims, with the company's head of Trucks and Buses at Daimler, Martin Daum, claiming the Tesla Semi "defies laws of physics."

Now, Daimler Trucks is fighting back with the unveiling of two fully-electric Freightliner trucks as part of its new E-Mobility Group that will speed up development of battery-powered engines for trucks and buses. First up is the Freightliner eCascadia. Based on the Cascadia, which is the most successful heavy-duty long-distance truck in North America, the eCascadia is Daimler's answer to the Tesla Semi, though it its maximum range still falls short. Its 550 kWh batteries provide 730 hp and a range of up to 250 miles. It can be recharged to around 80 percent within 90 minutes to cover another 200 miles.

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The medium-duty eM2, on the other hand, is intended for local distribution operations and last-mile delivery services. Its 325-kWh batteries give it 480 hp and a range of 230 miles. The batteries can also be charged to around 80 percent within 60 minutes, resulting in a range of roughly 184 miles. "With our trucks and buses we want to make our customers more successful. This applies to both electric trucks and conventional powertrains. Hence, we designed the Freightliner eCascadia and the eM2 here in the US, according to the specific requirements of our customers," said Dr Frank Reintjes, head of global powertrain and manufacturing engineering at Daimler Trucks.

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, Daimler plans to deliver around 30 units of both models to the first customers in North America. Series production is slated to start in 2021.