Last November, Elon Musk unveiled the Tesla Semi, an electric heavy duty truck that the upstart automaker said would be in production and set for delivery by 2019. Daimler AG is doubtful that Tesla can fulfill the bold promise. Tesla photo.
Tesla Semi to have 500 mile range
The head of the Daimler trucks and the Daimler buses divisions says he doubts Elon Musk will be able to deliver on his promise to produce the Tesla Semi by next year, arguing 2021 is likely a more realistic goal.
Prior to an event in Stuttgart on Wednesday, Daimler’s head of trucks, Martin Daum, said if Tesla is successful, his company would have seriously miscalculated. Daum made the comments just before announcing his company’s plans to roll out Mercedes-Benz electric trucks for testing this year.
The Mercedes-Benz trucks, which have a smaller driving range than the Tesla Semi, are expected to be in mass production by 2021. Daum says current battery technology doesn’t allow for faster production timelines.
“If Tesla really delivers on this promise, we’ll obviously buy two trucks — one to take apart and one to test because if that happens, something has passed us by,” Daum told reporters. “But for now, the same laws of physics apply” in Germany and in Tesla’s home base of California, he added.
According to Daimler, the Mercedes-Benz electric truck e-Actros, will deliver loads on city distribution routes. They will have a maximum range of 200 Kilometres and will come in two versions with total weights of 18 tons and 26 tons.
The trucks will take three to 11 hours to charge.
Along with range and charging, other concerns include resale of the big trucks. “Trucks have to run for 1.5 million miles and then there’s a used-truck buyer too after that,” said Daum. “We don’t know for sure how batteries for trucks will react after being in use for four to five years — it’s very complex.”
Early adopters for the electric trucks from Daimler include German supermarket chain Edeka and parcel delivery service Hermes. The tests are expected to begin in the next few weeks and will last for about two years.
Daimler says it will spend about €500 million this year and next on developing electric and connected trucks. The company expects broad demand for the technology to take time.