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Innovation: Daimler Electric Trucks Are Real

Although there is plenty of Strum und Drang regarding some companies that are possibly introducing electric work trucks within the next few years, it is interesting to note that Daimler Trucks & Buses has been quietly and consistently working on a variety of battery-powered trucks of various configurations under its Mercedes-Benz, FUSO and Freightliner brands.

Daimler electric trucks

Part of the fleet of electric trucks from Daimler, these the eActros. (Images: Daimler)

It has announced that its customers around the world have accumulated more than seven-million kilometers in its electric transport vehicles.

What’s more, it intends to offer EVs in its major sales areas around the world by 2022:

  • FUSO eCanter in the light-duty segment
  • Freightliner eM2 in the medium-duty segment
  • Mercedes-Benz eActros and Freightliner eCascadia in the heavy-duty segment

While there is some question about the viability of some electric trucks coming to exist, it is worth noting that the Daimler eCitaro bus—which uses electric portal axles—the ZF AVE 130—with electric motors at the rear wheel hubs to provide a peak output of a combined 250 kW and is powered by lithium-ion batteries providing 292 kWh (an interesting aspect is that some of the battery modules are mounted to the roof) has been in series production since 2018.

According to Daimler, there are presently 170 eCanters being operated in Europe, Japan and the U.S. There are heavy-duty eCascadia and medium-duty eM2 test vehicles—a total of 38 units—in operation in the U.S. The eCascadia is to launch in mid-2022 and the eM2 later that year.

Martin Daum, chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler Truck AG, said, “With our electric trucks, we aim to offer our customers electric vehicles that are on par with conventional trucks in terms of availability and performance as well.”

While trucks coming from other marques may be somewhat in question, it seems unquestionable that Daimler is going to get the products on the road approximately when it has it will.

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Idea: Global Sales: Not Bad (But Not Good, Either)

According to LMC Automotive, the global light vehicle sales rate was 88.1 million units in August, a 10.3% year-on-year (YoY) decrease. But as LMC points out, there was “a fairly strong August 2019.”

And most importantly for those who are looking at the sales trends: “Broadly speaking, the latest results are encouraging.”

  • U.S.: Down 19.1%. However, there were two fewer sales days than August 2019 (which will be to the benefit of September 2020 sales).
  • Canada: Down 11.8% YoY.
  • Mexico: Down 28.6% YoY (though the selling rate in August was 944,000 units per year, which was up from July’s 898,000 rate).
  • West Europe: The registrations were down 17.4% YoY—but the good news is that the selling rate climbed to 16.9-million units per year, which LMC describes as “solidifying a return to pre-crisis levels.”
  • Eastern Europe: Down 2.3% YoY in August—even though there had been an increase in July. According to LMC, “the surge of pent-up demand tailed off.”
  • China: An 8.5% YoY increase of wholesale sales. The selling rate in August was 29.5 million units per year.
  • Japan: A decline of 15.6% YoY. That said, the selling rate was 4.8-million units per year in August, which is up 10% compared with July.
  • South Korea: A 2% YoY decline—but it had two fewer sales days in August 2020 compared with 2019. For the year, sales are up 6.7% YoY.
  • Brazil: Down 25.1% YoY. LMC speculates that “the pent-up demand and delayed registrations from the early stages of the pandemic may be running out, exposing the true level of underlying demand.”
  • Argentina: Down 32.6% YoY—but the selling rate was 334,000 in August, compared with a rate of 309,000 in July.

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