Daimler has 2 new electric trucks to counter the Tesla Semi

Daimler has aggressively moved to carve its niche in the electric commercial vehicle space, and the German auto giant has two new offerings for the North American market.

Introduced under the Freightliner brand, the eCascadia and eM2 trucks mark Daimler’s expansion into the electric heavy- and medium-duty semi market. And the first units will enter production this year, well ahead of the Tesla Semi.

With the Thursday announcement, Daimler announced it will consolidate its electric commercial vehicle expertise under one roof with the E-Mobility Group (EMG). EMG will define Daimler’s strategy for electric components, complete electric vehicles, and develop a standardized global electric architecture similar to Daimler Truck’s global platform strategy for its internal combustion engines.

The eCascadia and eM2 are the latest from EMG’s strategy. The eCascadia is essentially a Cascadia heavy-duty semi truck with a battery-electric powertrain. According to Daimler, the powertrain makes 730 horsepower via a 550-kilowatt-hour battery pack. The heavy-duty semi will go 250 miles on a single charge and operators will see 80 percent of the battery charged in just 90 minutes. The eCascadia is rated for loads greater than 15 tons.

The eM2 is a medium-duty semi-truck with 480 hp and will go 230 miles on a full charge. The eM2’s 325-kwh battery pack can be recharged to 80 percent in 60 minutes.

Daimler and Freightliner said both electric semis have been designed specifically for the North American market to appease the region’s semi design. That meant a long hood and boxier proportions were in order. Both trucks join Daimler’s growing portfolio of electric commercial vehicles: the FUSO eCanterThomas Built Saf-T Liner C2 Jouley school bus.

Daimler plans to put 30 of the new trucks into production this year. Shortly after, customers will receive the semis before regular production gets underway in 2021.

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