The Tesla Semi and eCascadia Race to be
the First Electric Truck on the Market
Tesla continues to be at the forefront of the electric vehicle movement. Following their success with the Tesla Model 3 they plan to still move forward with their Tesla Semi production in 2019. However, there are claims that doubt that date. When Tesla first announced their fully electric, Class 8 semi-truck they revealed they planned production on the vehicle to begin in 2019. They opened the vehicle up for reservations after their announcement. One reservation owner, NFI Industries vice president of fleet services James O’Leary, said he was told otherwise. O’Leary stated that his company ordered 10 Tesla Semi’s and that they were told to expect delivery in 2020. Although the date seems fickle, O’Leary states that “They are staying relatively consistent with their timeline, even though Elon doesn’t talk about it on their earnings call,” in regards to Tesla and their earnings call. Elon Musk also states that they’ve made progress with the Semi, even though Tesla hasn’t updated the timeline. NFI Industries is also partnering up with Daimler and is ready to begin testing their fully electric semi-truck the eCascadia in 2019, ahead of its 2021 delivery date.
Dailmler Speaks Up
Daimler has stated that they are intending to use the eCascadia for local transportation because of the vehicle’s range on a full battery charge. The eCascadia has a range of 250 miles. The Tesla Semi boasts a range of 500 miles per full charge with the option of having a 300 mile charge. Roger Nielsen, president and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America, has made a few comments on the differences between Daimler’s truck and Telsa’s. Daimler believes that “The best battery solution is going to win,” along with “It’s all about energy consumption.” Going by that logic then, the Tesla Semi is already winning this competition. Their lower range battery outclasses the eCascadia’s by 50 miles. However, Daimler’s head of trucks, Martin Daum, has previously stated that “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,” expressing doubts that Tesla can deliver on their 500-mile promise.
Daimler fully expects that regardless of the Tesla Semi’s mile range they will remain at the top of the truck market with their eCascadia. Nielsen says that by sticking with something they know, customers will feel more comfortable with their vehicle. “It helps create a smooth transition from a diesel-powered truck to an electric-powered truck.” Nielsen remains adamant that Daimler will be victorious over Tesla in 2020.
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