The Tesla Semi was the first electric semi-truck to hit the market with its initial deliveries last year, though another company is now set to enter the arena. This week, Mercedes-Benz unveiled its own electric semi-truck set to follow the Tesla Semi to market.
Mercedes unveiled the eActros 600 on Tuesday, set to go on sale near the end of this year, according to the automaker (via Bloomberg). The electric semi and Tesla Semi competitor will feature a range of 500 kilometers (311 miles) per charge while carrying as much as 22 tons in cargo. It’s expected to take just 30 minutes to charge from 20 to 80 percent, which the company says is roughly equal to the electricity needed to power approximately 1,000 households.
Mercedes also shared an image rendering of the eActros 600 interior, as can be seen below.
In the announcement, Mercedes-Benz Trucks Chief Executive Officer Karin Rådström said that the high price of eActros 600 production compared to its diesel trucks was a drawback for the vehicle. However, she added that operating the electric semi-truck would be less costly than operating diesel versions.
Another drawback, according to Rådström in an interview with Bloomberg, is the lack of availability of a charging infrastructure for semi-trucks. She also noted that less range is needed to accommodate about 60 percent of the trucking routes in Europe.
“It’s the most challenging part of the equation,” Rådström said, referring to the need to build out charging networks for trucking.
Hydrogen-powered semi-trucks will also play a role in the decarbonization of the hauling industry, according to Rådström, ahead of a European Union (EU) goal to phase out the sale of gas vehicles.
The news comes as fellow Tesla Semi rival Nikola said this month that it plans to begin delivering its first hydrogen trucks in a few weeks, representing 23 different customers that have ordered the trucks across 223 non-binding agreements.
Last year, PepsiCo received initial deliveries of the Tesla Semi in its first order of the semi-trucks, spread across two different California facilities. Although the Mercedes eActros 600 is initially destined for the European market, it also represents just the second electric semi to head to any market, following the Tesla Semi.