Just like Tesla did with the Model S in the premium sedan segment, Tesla Semi, the company’s upcoming all-electric semi truck, is aiming to become the best-selling truck in its segment, according to CEO Elon Musk.
It means that they are attempting to dethrone Freightliner’s Cascadia.
Daimler, Freightliner’s parent company, doesn’t seem too worried about the upcoming competition from Tesla based on recent comments from an executive.
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The German company has its own plans to electrify its lineup of trucks, but it is starting with vehicles of smaller capacities, like the Mercedes eTruck and the Daimler eCanter.
Those vehicles are built to support short urban routes with low to mid-size loads.
On the other hand, Elon Musk said that Tesla Semi will allow the “highest weight capability with long-range”. Furthermore, the CEO directly referenced the Daimler’s industry-leading Cascadia as a competitor in this category.
It’s especially interesting since the all-electric truck program at Tesla is led by Jerome Guillen, Tesla’s former Model S Program Director and VP of Vehicle Engineering. Before joining Tesla, Guillen was an executive at Daimler where he led the development of the Cascadia semi truck program.
Marc Llistosella, head of Daimler Trucks Asia, doesn’t think that Guillen can repeat the success of the Cascadia with Tesla Semi and Elon Musk.
He told Business Insider last week:
“In trucks, of course [Elon Musk’s] stepping into it, but we don’t see him as someone who is threatening us because you need a whole infrastructure. You need dealerships, you need infrastructure, you need maintenance.”
Of course, a lot of legacy automakers said the same thing about Tesla before the Model S and now it dominates its segment. They deployed hundreds of service centers and Supercharger stations.
Nonetheless, he has a point that Tesla will need to update its current infrastructure to support Tesla Semi. Most current Supercharger stations can’t even accommodate a Model X with a trailer so you can forget a semi truck with a trailer.
There’s a similar situation with service centers, while some of them could potentially accommodate trucks after some modifications, they were all made for passenger cars.
But Tesla is serious about Tesla Semi and there’s no reason to think they wouldn’t deploy the necessary infrastructure. They were very aware of the infrastructure issue with passengers and they arguably handled it better than any other electric automakers. Now some of them even want to use Tesla’s Supercharger network.
Tesla Semi plays into Tesla’s mission to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport perfectly since replacing one diesel semi truck by an all-electric truck would be the equivalent of replacing dozens of gas-guzzling passenger cars.
We should have a better idea of Tesla’s plans for the electric semi truck and its infrastructure at the unveiling event planned for September.
What do you think? Should Daimler be worried? Let us know in the comment section below.