Ahead of Tesla, Daimler Reveals its Own Electric Heavy Duty Truck

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【Summary】 Daimler revealed its new electric medium duty truck today at the Tokyo Motor Show, just weeks before Tesla’s scheduled debut of its long-awaited electric semi-truck.

Eric Walz    Dec 01, 2017 3:30 PM PT
Ahead of Tesla, Daimler Reveals its Own Electric Heavy Duty Truck

TOKYO — Daimler revealed its new electric medium duty truck at the Tokyo Motor Show, just weeks before Tesla's scheduled debut of its long-awaited electric semi-truck.

The truck – named E-FUSO Vision One - marks the top end of the electrification path of the company's portfolio in the upcoming years. This initiative will be backed by access to Daimler know-how in the fields of battery and charging technology, supporting the E-FUSO position as the frontrunner in electric trucking.

The E-Fuso Vision One prototype can carry 11 tons of cargo as far as 350 kilometers (220 miles) before recharging, the world's largest maker of commercial vehicles said Wednesday in a statement. The truck, which would be geared to shorter intra-city trips, could go on sale within four years in Europe, Japan and the U.S. The truck is part of plans by Daimler's Fuso brand to add electric and hybrid options across its range of trucks and buses.

Marc Llistosella, President and CEO of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation and Head of Daimler Trucks Asia stated: "Our E-FUSO Vision One is an outlook on a feasible all-electric heavy-duty truck. It underlines our commitment to electrify our complete product range. FUSO has been a pioneer in the electrification of trucks for many years. Just one month ago we launched our eCante, the first serial-produced, all-electric light duty truck. In the future, all our electrified vehicles will run under the name of E-FUSO, our new product brand dedicated exclusively to electric trucks and buses." 

The E-Fuso underlines the brand's position as "the frontrunner in electric trucking," Stuttgart, Germany-based Daimler said in the statement during the Tokyo Motor Show. Fuso last month presented the eCanter, a short-range light-duty hauler for urban deliveries.

The announcement steals some thunder from Tesla, which plans to show off a long awaited concept truck on Nov. 16. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk engaged in a Twitter tussle with Daimler, a former Tesla shareholder, about electric-vehicle spending last month. Daimler's Mercedes-Benz is also ramping up a line of battery-powered luxury cars to challenge Tesla models.

Tesla's Model S has been taking market share from Mercedes' flagship S-Class sedan, and plans by the California upstart to broaden its lineup steps up competition between the former partners.

Tesla, which has delayed its truck's unveiling to November from September while it works through Model 3 production setbacks, has said its semi-truck can travel as far as 300 miles on a single charge. The company plans to add a pickup version as well.

The E-Fuso's load capacity will be 2 tons less than a comparable diesel model to accommodate the weight of the large 300-kilowatt battery packs, the company said. The model "underlines our commitment to electrify our entire product range," Marc Llistosella, who heads Daimler's Asia truck unit, said in the statement.

Tesla shares are still up about 57 percent this year, while Daimler is down 2 percent over the same period in Frankfurt.

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