Daimler is planning to take Tesla head on, having unveiled its light-duty electric truck that has already covered more than 60,000Km. The wholly-owned Mercedes subsidiary is in the process of launching a limited series of the truck ahead of mass production sometime in 2019.
The announcement comes on the heels of Tesla which has until now focused on high-end electric cars also reiterating plans for electric trucks. Daimler, however, does not expect the pioneer of electric cars to pose any challenge on its push for market share in the fast-growing electric car spectacle, especially on trucks.
“In trucks, of course [Elon Musk’s] stepping into it, but we don’t see him as someone who is threatening us because you need a whole infrastructure. You need dealerships, you need infrastructure, you need maintenance, “said the head of Daimler Trucks Asia Marc Llistosella.
In what can be interpreted as a warning shot to Tesla, Daimler is planning to automate and electrify its entire line of trucks as it looks to carve a substantial amount of market share for itself. The probability of its succeeding on the latest push is high given that it currently oversees four different brands all made up of trucks. Just like Tesla, Daimler is also setting up its own gig factory that it plans to use to produce lithium ion batteries for powering its electric trucks.
Daimler vs. Tesla
Tesla has until now made a name for itself on the sale of high-end electric cars. However, it has started to diversify its product portfolio in the recent past as it looks to enjoy the benefits of mass market on the sale of highly affordable electric cars.
How successful it will be with the launch of its electric truck will come down to how it fairs against Daimler. The German company’s Freightliner Trucks remain the undisputed king of the space having curved 40% of the U.S market. The company is also planning to bolster its footprint in the space with the launch of eCanter, which is being developed by FUSO acquired in 2004.
The truck industry is set to become a key battleground for automakers looking to generate a substantial amount of value on the sale of highly automated and electric trucks. Getting a head start is key in this case given that the industry is rife with few products on offer.