Mercedes Unveils Long-Haul Electric Truck to Take on Tesla
Mercedes-Benz Trucks revealed a heavy-duty electric truck to take on Tesla Inc.’s battery-powered Semi, the latest move in the intensifying race to decarbonize road logistics.
Mercedes-Benz Trucks revealed a heavy-duty electric truck to take on Tesla Inc.'s battery-powered Semi, the latest move in the intensifying race to decarbonize road logistics.
The eActros 600, which can travel 500 kilometers (311 miles) on a single charge while hauling up to 22 tons in cargo, is set to go on sale toward the end of this year, the unit of Daimler Truck Holding AG said Tuesday. It's aimed at taking on Tesla's truck, which has already scored orders from Walmart Inc. and United Parcel Service Inc.
The vehicle's battery can recharge from 20% to 80%, a threshold considered the best for maintaining battery life, in 30 minutes provided the customer has access to a one megawatt charging device, the company said, equivalent to the electricity needed to power around 1,000 homes.
Electrifying heavy-duty vehicles is one of the biggest hurdles to making road transport green. The lack of charging infrastructure remains a key barrier to adoption, even though around 60% of freight routes in Europe are shorter than the 500-kilometer range of the eActros 600.
High prices are another drawback with for the eActros 600 costing roughly double that of its diesel comparator, according to Mercedes-Benz Trucks Chief Executive Officer Karin Rådström though it's less expensive to operate than a conventional truck.
Rådström, speaking in an interview with Bloomberg Television, said building out charging networks is an urgent next step to ensure shipping and logistics firms using electric trucks will be able to do the job.
“It's the most challenging part of the equation” for customers, Rådström said. Hydrogen-powered trucks will also be part of decarbonizing trucking, she said.
With emissions regulations tightening, the region's biggest truckmakers are working together to build the charging network. The European Commission last year approved a joint venture between Volvo, Daimler Truck and Traton that plans to invest €500 million ($527 million) to set up 1,700 charging points across Europe in the coming years.
While there are few megawatt chargers available at present, the European Union has put forward targets for the expansion of electric-truck charging infrastructure. By 2030 at the latest, rules require that the EU's main road network be equipped with charging pools every 60 kilometers, a density that should allow battery-powered trucks to better compete with diesel equivalents.