Trucks & SUVs

Daimler Is Redefining Diesel Trucking

When it comes to trucking, pickup trucks, and semis, diesel engines and the fuel they use immediately comes to mind. There are a lot of regulations. Due to emissions laws, diesel trucks have become increasingly complicated in an effort to keep up with the limitations certain laws have put on diesel engines. But Daimler is looking to change that. The future of trucking is electric.

this Daimler electric semi truck is parked with its logos visible
Daimler eM2 | Daimler

What is a semi truck?

When it comes to hauling bulky or heavy cargo from shore to shore, semi trucks dominate the industry. According to Top Mark Funding, “a semi-trailer truck more commonly semi truck or simply “semi” is the combination of a tractor unit and one or more semi-trailers to carry freight.” A semi-trailer hooks up to a tractor with the coupling of a fifth-wheel, or hitch. Most on the road today are powered by a diesel engine.

So, most of the cargo weight is supported by the tractor. This way, the semi-trailer and the tractor are designed quite differently from that of a truck and trailer that is more rigid in construction. The way these large cargo trucks work makes them efficient for carrying a lot of stuff.

Daimler electric Freightliner semi trucks can actually go pretty far

According to the Daimler website, the first generation of the eCascadia can provide as much as 730 horsepower. The 550 kWh battery in the eCascadia has a range of up to 250 miles. Additionally, it can be charged up to 80% in around 90 minutes. That will give it another 200 miles.

Then there is the Freightliner eM2 106. This electric semi is designed more for local distribution of items such as beverages or food. The first generation eM2 has a 325 kWh battery that generates up to 480 horsepower. The eM2 has a range of up to 230 miles. This electric semi truck can be recharged to 80% in an hour which adds 184 miles to the trip.

Are electric trucks more expensive?

According to a study done by the Georgia Tech school of Civil and Environmental Engineering, electric trucks are less expensive because they are efficient. The study showed that in an urban delivery route in which stopping and starting happen frequently electric trucks are “roughly 50% more efficient to operate than diesel trucks overall.” Additionally, they reduce greenhouse gas by around 50%. Overall, electric trucks are “at least” 20% less expensive than diesel trucks.

cockpit of the Freightliner eM2 by Daimler
cockpit of the eM2 Freightliner | Daimler

The increased efficiency is dependent on the function of the electric motor at lower speeds. Also, the regenerative braking system is more efficient. In general, the efficiency decreases the operating expenses. Additionally, as technology improves these trucks will only get better. Eventually, diesel trucking will be a thing of the past.

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What about power?

The above-mentioned horsepower figures speak for themselves. Plus, no one would make a semi truck that couldn’t perform. If we being to see a switch from diesel to electric, it’s safe to assume they will be at least powerful enough to haul the same loads at their predecessors.

So, in terms of power, we should expect electric trucks to do their job. There is a call to improve emissions and stay with the times. In order to do that successfully, electric semis will have to be able to take on the work of diesel trucks.