Daimler wants to exceed the range of Tesla Semi with hydrogen – but not before 2025

The range specified by Tesla for the semi electric semi-trailer is physically not possible, claimed the head of the truck division at the German Daimler group at the beginning of 2018. He was right to the extent that Tesla CEO Elon Musk anticipated the development of better battery technology by a few years by stating a range of up to 500 miles and more per charge. The semi should be produced no later than next year – battery news could be available at Tesla’s battery day next week. Daimler, in turn, has now presented a fuel cell truck that should go even further than the Tesla – but only in the second half of the decade.

Daimler on the Tesla course for passenger cars

Hydrogen fuel cells as an energy option for electric cars are as good as done after decades of research, because Tesla showed that batteries provide electricity much more easily and cheaply. After the unsuccessful combustion engine conversion EQC, the Daimler brand Mercedes wants to bring a fundamentally new luxury electric car onto the market with the EQS shortly after the new S-Class and in future develop all model series electrically first. Only BMW occasionally speaks of fuel cell cars among German corporations, while Volkswagen has long been on the Tesla (cuddle) course.

Tesla also wants to make heavy truck traffic electric with the semi, but the hydrogen competition appears even livelier here. The loud rival Nikola with his chic visions of fuel cell trucks has been targeted by short sellers and the SEC, despite a partnership with General Motors. But Daimler is also continuing to work on the technology. Now the truck subsidiary Daimler Trucks has presented its strategy for electrification – with a hydrogen truck with a range of 1000 kilometers, but which is not supposed to go into series production before 2025, long after the Tesla Semi, which is the equivalent of a good 800 kilometers.

Distracting yourself from Tesla Semi with hydrogen?

Aside from the range, Daimler sets relatively modest goals for its GenH2 truck: while the Tesla Semi promises top values ​​thanks to its large battery capacity and powerful motors, the German electric truck is said to be “on par with that of a comparable conventional diesel Trucks are lying around ”- and that only“ in the second half of this decade ”, i.e. 2025 at the earliest. However, the first tests with customers are to begin in 2023.

Even before the start of hydrogen series production sometime from 2025, Daimler wants to come up with pure battery trucks. The announcement of the GenH2, in which Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer also praises, could almost be understood as a distraction: In the coming year, Daimler intends to bring the eActros electric truck onto the market with a range of only “well over 200 kilometers”. At the same time, the Tesla Semi with its 800 kilometers should already be available. And only for 2024 is Daimler planning the eActos LongHaul, which with 500 kilometers should have at least a little more range than Tesla’s smaller semi with around 480 kilometers.


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