Mercedes-Benz eActros Electric Truck Rolls out to European Customers Later This Year

Tesla isn't the only company building electric trucks.

Daimler AG - Product Communications Daimler Trucks—Daimler AG

The Tesla Semi may get the lion's share of attention, but multiple companies are developing electric trucks of different shapes and sizes. Instead of long-haul semis, Daimler is focusing on urban delivery vehicles. The newly-unveiled Mercedes-Benz eActros may be its most ambitious effort yet.

The eActros is the production version of the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck concept that first appeared in 2016. An initial test fleet of 10 trucks will be deployed with customers in Europe later this year. Mercedes plans to begin full-scale production of the eActros in 2021.

The new truck is considerably larger than Daimler's last electric commercial truck, the Fuso eCanter. It has a claimed range of 200 kilometers (125 miles), and a gross weight rating of 18 or 25 tons, depending on the variant. The powertrain consists of three 125-kilowatt (167-horsepower) electric motors.

The eActros uses 11 individual battery packs with a total capacity of 240 kilowatt hours. A full recharge takes three to 11 hours, depending on the power of the charging station. Since the trucks will likely be dispatched from a central terminal, drivers won't have to hunt around for charging stations on the street.

While Daimler isn't attempting to build an electric semi truck like Tesla, the eActros shows that the company is trying to scale up from small, local-delivery vehicles to larger models. The company plans to spend $3.2 billion on research and development for its truck division through 2019, with a focus on electrification and automation. Meanwhile, Mercedes will launch electric versions of its Vito and Sprinter vans and an electric bus over the next two years.