Daimler Truck Says Electric Trucks Prices and Costs Staying High

When it comes to electric vehicles, the prices of electric trucks are on the higher end of the spectrum. Those looking for a deal on a passenger truck like the Ford F-150 Lightning electric truck or the Hummer EV Pickup might need to look elsewhere. Daimler Truck is the world’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer and has been working on bringing more commercial electric trucks to market.

Daimler says the price of electric trucks will always be higher than gas trucks

Daimler Truck says electric truck prices won't be going down anytime soon
The Mercedes-Benz eActros electric truck is symbolically unveiled at the Mercedes-Benz truck plant of Daimler Truck AG | Uli Deck/picture alliance via Getty Images

Martin Daum, chief executive of Daimler Truck, said that the price of electric trucks would “forever be higher” than gasoline-powered trucks, Financial Times reports. This comment was in response to the price of raw materials going up due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Daum went on to say that with the cost of an engine, transmission, cooling system, and everything else needed for a conventional truck, the materials cost is around $27,000.

Daum noted that that same amount wouldn’t get you as far with an electric truck. He commented that the cost could exceed that amount even for the battery cells alone. He noted that governments would have to help to make up for the discrepancy. “Without any subsidies . . . the price of a [electric] truck will always, forever be higher than a [combustion engine] truck,” Financial Times reports.

Daimler sold 712 electric trucks and buses in 2021

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Daimler Truck was an early electric truck adopter, making battery-powered electric vehicles since 2017. Since then, it has tripled the sales of zero-emission trucks and buses. Last year, it sold a total of 712 electric trucks and buses. However, that number pales compared to the 455,000 gasoline trucks and buses delivered in the previous year.

Daimler has a new long-range Mercedes-Benz eActros commercial truck, which comes in at three times the price of the gas version. Given the rising prices across all facets of vehicle production, that is likely to go down anytime soon. The cost of some of the primary raw materials needed for these trucks has gone up significantly. The price of cobalt and lithium have more than doubled, while the price of nickel is up almost 40% in the last year.

Due to the rising prices of materials, the price of battery packs will remain high. The price fell to $132 per kilowatt-hour in 2021 and will likely stay above $100 through 2024.

Hydrogen isn’t out of the picture yet, either

Daum and others want a tax on carbon to help narrow the cost of electric trucks and gas trucks. He hoped this, along with cooperation from the German government, would help compensate for the high diesel price. Daimler Truck says there might be hope in hydrogen trucks, but there needs to be government help to go down that venture. “In the fuel cell, we have far less rare raw material, and we don’t compete with millions of passenger cars for the same material,” Daum noted.

For now, Daimler, Volvo, and Traton are working on spending more than $550 million on an electric truck charging network. This would add 1,700 charging stations around Europe, making the transition to electric vehicles smoother.

For now, the U.S. market awaits the arrival of electric passenger trucks like the Ford F-150 Lightning, Chevy Silverado EV, and Hummer EV Pickup. The momentum is strong for all of these options, but the race is certainly on to get to market sooner than later.

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