Daimler says progress on electric trucks faster than expected

Daimler is one of several companies, including major OEMs and startups, working on electric trucks. At the American Trucking Association’s annual Management Conference & Exhibition, Roger Nielsen, CEO of Daimler Trucks North America, told journalists that the company’s development of electric trucks is happening “at a greater speed than expected.”

Just before the conference, Daimler met with some 30 customers who are testing the company’s electric trucks. In June, Daimler unveiled the all-electric Freightliner eCascadia heavy-duty and Freightliner eM2 medium-duty models. In September, Daimler led a $155 million investment in electric bus manufacturer Proterra. More recently, the two companies announced a collaboration on an electric school bus. Nielsen said he had recently tested the bus, nicknamed Jouley, and was impressed by its 0-60 acceleration.

Responding to a question about competition from Tesla’s electric Semi, Nielsen said, “The best battery solution is going to win. It’s all about energy consumption.” He predicted Daimler would have the “highest number” of commercial EVs on the market in 2020.

Nielsen said the recent meeting with customers convinced him that they want an electric vehicle that’s not too different from the legacy models their drivers are familiar with. Daimler’s Freightliner offers “a smooth transition from a diesel-powered truck to an electric-powered truck,” he said.

Nielsen also said that a new research center devoted to automated driving is up and running, and the company is “hiring a lot of folks.” He believes Level 4 automation will offer a “positive business case,” but doesn’t see human drivers becoming obsolete any time soon.


Source: FleetOwner

  • mipak

    The best truck is going to win. It’s not all about energy consumption but packaging.

    • Broncobet

      In 2020 Daimler will have a full line of EV trucks, semis, school buses and vans,Tesla will still be collecting deposits on vaporware.

      • mipak

        Tesla is pushing Daimler to the brink of bankruptcy.

        • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/YXNpZADpBWEdwMEVUMGtDdkhlb1o4aWZAjRXNQWWVVeFZAhX1I0dGlGd0VrOUlxZAGwwaC1Bb2tsNjNHRUhESHBUaGxHa1ppdFA2blctRl9VZATZA0SUpvVEdhZA1FzRFVHYVJzQjNTMDZARZAGcZD/ Dag Øystein Johansen

          Well, not just yet.

          Why so angry at Daimler? Surely as a Musk worshipper you must know that there would be no Tesla today, according to Elon, if not for Daimler?

    • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/YXNpZADpBWEdwMEVUMGtDdkhlb1o4aWZAjRXNQWWVVeFZAhX1I0dGlGd0VrOUlxZAGwwaC1Bb2tsNjNHRUhESHBUaGxHa1ppdFA2blctRl9VZATZA0SUpvVEdhZA1FzRFVHYVJzQjNTMDZARZAGcZD/ Dag Øystein Johansen

      I’m glad he’s the boss, not you. If he didn’t think it necessary to find out what’s key to electric trucks and buses, he could be lazy like you and just say “the best truck will win”.

      ICE vehicles in general don’t have to have super low consumption to be great. The main impact is on running costs and the environment, and only the former is a private cost to the owner.

      But EVs are different. Batteries have only about 3% of the energy density of gasoline. That changes everything. If consumption is high, you’ll need more battery for the same range. That not only adds significant cost, it adds weight, and robs you of space, and of agility. And increases charging time.

      For trucks, consumption is key even in the world of ICE, because fuel is the biggest expense (wages are a close second). For EV trucks it’ll be even more important: fuel costs will be much lower, but the weight (and, to a lesser extent, size) of the battery pack will directly impact how much stuff you can move, your cargo capacity, and therefore the bottom line.

      Of course the best truck must also have a lot of other qualities. But that’s no different in EVs and ICE, and Daimler knows about making good trucks. If their CEO told them to give special focus to *everything*, that’s really no focus at all. Telling them consumption is king doesn’t make them think it won’t matter what seats it gets, then. 🙂

  • GearsOfWoe

    Why brags about the 0-60 acceleration of a school bus? I really wonder if he really understands the market for electric vehicles.

    • Colin Richardson

      I think its more a case of explaining to the mass public that electric cars are not the slow accelerating vehicles that everyone pictures in their minds. I am going to go out on a limb and say, this is more for the older generation who remembers the old and hasn’t worked out things are not like that anymore. My mother for example didn’t even know electric cars “are a thing” as of 2 months ago, yet people who are tracking this type of stuff know that Tesla alone has made 4 vehicles, and already have designs/concepts/prototypes of 4 more.

      • GearsOfWoe

        You are probably right. Smooth quiet acceleration is immediately obvious to customers on a test ride. Back in the diesel days, I knew people who worked with school districts to create no-idling zones and retrofit their buses with particulate filters. I’m sure that he is selling school districts on Jouley’s fuel savings, reliability, and zero emissions.