Daimler has several electric truck programs in the works and today it revealed the latest progress on the eActros heavy-duty electric trucks.
During the event, an executive compared the vehicle to the Tesla Semi and cast doubts about Tesla delivering on its promises. The German truck manufacturer already unveiled the FUSO eCanter program, a small electric truck meant for urban routes with a range of only 100 kilometers (62 miles) and a load capacity up to three and a half tons, and a bigger all-electric eTruck, which has a 26 ton capacity, a massive 212 kWh battery pack, and ~125 miles of range.
They are now using a similar powertrain as the one in the bigger truck concept for the new eActros electric truck. Today, they announced that they delivered the first 10 trucks to customers for operational testing until the planned production in 2021.
Now, the truck doesn’t compare favorably to Tesla’s electric semi truck prototypes, which the company claims can travel up to 500 miles with a 80,000-lb full capacity.
At the launch event for the eActros test fleet today, Daimler’s head of trucks, Martin Daum, told reporters that he has doubts about Tesla achieving those specs (via Bloomberg):
“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. But for now, the same laws of physics apply in Germany and in California.”
Tesla has also been testing its electric semi prototypes with customers and last year, a Tesla Semi test program partner said that performance specs are for real – though they couldn’t confirm all of them.
The California automaker says that Tesla Semi will go into production as soon as next year.
We still have a lot of questions about the Tesla Semi because it doesn’t seem to be achievable with current known battery technology.
Based on the performance numbers that Tesla released, the battery pack would have a capacity of about 1 MWh and that would be a very heavy and costly battery pack.
It doesn’t appear to be possible with the current battery cells that Tesla uses in its current vehicles in term of weight and cost. Most analysts seem to agree that at least some significant incremental improvements in Li-ion batteries would be required or even a breakthrough with a new type of batteries.
Yet, Tesla claims that it can be done and in production as soon as 2019.
Of course, Daimler has to believe that Tesla is lying otherwise it means that this new electric truck they plan to put in production in 2021 is going to be worthless.
While it’s hard to believe that Tesla would produce a truck that would surpass the specs of the biggest truck manufacturers in the world, we have to keep in mind that the same happened with Model S.
Tesla is years ahead of all other automakers when it comes to energy capacity inside passenger cars. It’s not impossible to think that they could replicate that for trucks.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.