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EV battle intensifies as Mercedes unveils a vehicle to rival the Tesla Semi: 'This truck is an extremely competitive truck'

"We're going into serious production next year, so I think we're in a very, very strong position."

"We’re going into serious production next year, so I think we’re in a very, very strong position."

Photo Credit: Daimler Truck AG

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its answer to the Tesla Semi: the eActros 600.

According to Bloomberg, the new long-haul vehicle can drive over 300 miles on a single charge with 22 tons of cargo behind it. With a 1-megawatt charger, the vehicle can charge from 20% to 80% in just 30 minutes.

The trucks aren't without their drawbacks. For starters, they're noticeably pricey, costing close to double their diesel-chugging equivalents. Additionally, charging infrastructure still has a long way to go around the world. 

"If I could make one wish, it's for sure that we have a faster buildout of public infrastructure for heavy-duty trucks, because I think it's the most challenging part of the equation for our customers," Karin Rådström, the CEO of Mercedes-Benz Trucks, told Bloomberg in a video interview. "They have the truck, they can see that it makes sense from a cost perspective, but they're a little concerned about how fast the infrastructure will be in place."

The good news is that the eActros 600 is cheaper to operate than a diesel-powered truck, and regulations should ensure that the European Union's main network of roads will have chargers available every 60 kilometers (37 miles), per Bloomberg.

It's vital that society transitions toward electric vehicles for shipping, since medium- and heavy-duty trucks use as much as 26% of the United States' fuel each year, even though they only represent 4% of the total number of vehicles, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The success of the Tesla Semi, in addition to expanded long-haul EVs from competitors, looks like a step in the right direction.

"This truck is an extremely competitive truck, in what we're bringing, and we're going into serious production next year, so I think we're in a very, very strong position," Rådström said in the video interview. "I think we're on a good path."

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