Daim­ler drives its elec­tric truck busi­ness into the US

The Star Malaysia - StarBiz - - Front Page -

DETROIT: Daim­ler AG will turn up the vol­ume on its elec­tric com­mer­cial truck ef­forts, an­nounc­ing plans to bring a fleet of bat­tery-pow­ered Fuso de­liv­ery ve­hi­cles to cus­tomers in New York City as ri­vals gear up to jump into the mar­ket.

The mar­ket for elec­tric medium and heavy-duty trucks is in its in­fancy. Still, es­tab­lished man­u­fac­tur­ers such as Daim­ler and Nav­is­tar In­ter­na­tional Corp, as well as elec­tric car­maker Tesla Inc and a host of other new en­trants, are rac­ing to over­come the chal­lenges of sub­sti­tut­ing bat­ter­ies for diesel en­gines as reg­u­la­tors crack down on car­bon diox­ide and soot pol­lu­tion.

Daim­ler’s Mit­subishi Fuso unit be­gan build­ing eCan­ter trucks at fac­to­ries in Por­tu­gal and Ja­pan ear­lier this year.

The ve­hi­cles are de­signed for de­liv­er­ing goods in large cities and had a range of about 100 km be­tween charges, Daim­ler said.

Cus­tomers could or­der eCan­ters with more bat­tery packs and greater range, or sac­ri­fice range to carry a heav­ier pay­load, Daim­ler has said.

Seven-Eleven Co Ltd of Ja­pan, which in May be­came the first an­nounced com­mer­cial cus­tomer for the eCan­ter, planned to op­er­ate 25 of the trucks in its fleet, Mit­subishi Fuso said at the time.

Daim­ler is ex­pected to dis­close more de­tails of its plans to of­fer elec­tric trucks in the United States at a news con­fer­ence in New York, ahead of next week’s con­fer­ence there on cli­mate change.

Mean­while, Tesla chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Elon Musk tweeted on Wed­nes­day that the Sil­i­con Valley com­pany would show off a pro­to­type of an elec­tric semi truck on Oct 26 in Hawthorne, Cal­i­for­nia.

“Worth see­ing this beast in per­son,” Musk tweeted. “It’s un­real.”

Reuters re­ported last month that Tesla’s semi is ex­pected to of­fer a range of 200 to 300 miles, far less than the 1,000 miles for some diesel-pow­ered coun­ter­parts that US long-haul truck­ers use.

Tesla is also work­ing on au­to­ma­tion sys­tems that would al­low the ve­hi­cle to drive it­self and move in pla­toons of trucks that use sen­sors and au­to­mated throt­tle and brak­ing sys­tems to fol­low each other closely on the high­way.

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