Car News

Mercedes To Begin Electric Big Rig Trials This Year

Mercedes-Benz says it will begin trials of its first electric transport trucks this spring, with a goal of selling the first production models by 2021.

Automotive News says those trial trucks – battery powered versions of the Actros model – will go a little more than 200 km on a single charge. That's about a quarter the range Tesla promises its big rig will go at its proposed 2019 launch, but Mercedes-Benz's Daimler parent – the world's biggest truck maker – says its plan is by far the more realistic one.

Martin Daum, head of trucks for Daimler, said that if Tesla succeeds in rolling out an 800 km electric rig next year, "Daimler would have miscalculated to an unimaginable degree."

"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," Daum said, adding that, as far as he knows, the same laws of physics apply in Germany and at Tesla's California headquarters.

Daimler's electric truck trial will begin in the next few weeks when German supermarket chain Edeka and parcel delivery service Hermes take delivery of a total of 10 trucks, in 18 and 26-tonne payload configurations, for use on city distribution routes.

Daimler's Daum said battery technology is what has so far held back the development of electric heavy trucks; Daimler said it will spend well over a billion dollars over the next two years to develop its electric rigs while other truck makers, like Volvo, work on perfecting their own electric truck tech.