Electric trucks are changing an industry

There is a growing market for pollution-cutting, electric big rigs and industry leaders are not taking it lightly. The Tesla Semi accelerates from 0-60 in 20 secs and has a range of 300 to 500 miles. The base model, which has range of 300 miles, costs $150,000, while the 500 mile model expected base price is $180,000. Tesla estimates fuel savings in access of $200,000 with a break even value of only 2 years. Both models come with Enhanced Autopilot which features, a centered driver’s seat, and large visual displays on the dash. Tesla The Tesla product has been under development for years, but there are newcomers to the table, Daimler, NaviStar, and Volvo.

Daimler just unveiled its new electric rig, called eCascadia, to compete with Tesla. Electrek As the world’s largest truck maker, it seems Daimler is late to the game, even admittedly so. The new truck group is taking a slightly different market focus with its “Fuso eCanter” program, however. The models in this product group are designed for local, short runs in urban spaces. When you review the specs; they only have a range of 62 miles and a 3.5 ton capacity. The larger, all-electric eTruck, has a 26 ton capacity and a range of 125 miles. Ironically, none of these can directly compete with Tesla’s class 8 Semi with a 500 mile range (single charge) and a capacity of 40 tons. Seems like the competition is just beginning though, at times, it seems more like Elon Musk is competing with himself. ‘Not so,’ says NaviStar CEO Troy Clarke, who claims to have the branding advantage to Musk’s truck building forays.

NaviStar entered a partnership with Volkswagen Truck & Bus. However, thus far it only produces medium-duty, urban use trucks, similar to much of what we are seeing. The Drive Volvo unveiled its ”FL Electric”, a 16-ton, 180 mile range urban use vehicle earlier this year; however, it isn’t sold in North America. All-electric trucks are expected to bring many advantages over combustion engines: (1) pollution reduction, (2) lower maintenance costs, and (3) tax credits to companies who use them.  And, we will certainly see more entrants into the market that will continue the push production models toward ever better engineering and design. It’s an exciting time!

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