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The German manufacturer, best known for its luxury cars, is also the world’s biggest truckmaker, giving Daimler the most to lose should Tesla boss Elon Musk succeed in producing a semi truck with a 500-mile range for delivery starting in 2019.
If that happened, Daimler would have miscalculated to an unimaginable degree, head of trucks Martin Daum suggested to reporters at an event last week in Stuttgart. He announced plans to start rolling out Mercedes-Benz electric trucks for trials this year, followed by mass production as of 2021. The driving range is smaller than Musk is targeting. Current battery technology doesn’t allow for faster timelines, Daum said.
"If Tesla really delivers on this promise, we’ll obviously buy two trucks — one to take apart and one to test because if that happens, something has passed us by," Daum said. "But for now, the same laws of physics apply" in Germany and in California, where Tesla is based, he added.
The Mercedes-Benz electric Actros, starting with 10 vehicles, will deliver loads on city distribution routes with a maximum range of 200 kilometers (124 miles), Stuttgart-based Daimler said.
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