Daimler AG announced on Thursday that it would launch the first commercial electric trucks. The first users will be the United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE: UPS). The German auto company’s new electric truck or the eCanter will eventually expand as well as becoming cheaper within the few years.
Daimler’s announcement of the trucks comes shortly after Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Wednesday about Tesla’s unveiling of the electric truck in late October in what Musk called it a “beast”.
“The game has started,” Daimler Trucks Asia chief Mark Llistosella told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.
Daimler said at a news conference in New York on Thursday that UPS will deploy three of the trucks, while four other New York based non-profit organizations, such the Wildlife Conservation Society or New York Botanical Garden, will receive a total of eight electric trucks.
Daimler said the trucks have a range of about 62 miles or 100km per charge. The company plans to produce 500 truck in the next year, and begin mass production by 2019. Daimler is only launching 500 trucks due to the high costs for mass producing electric trucks.
Llistosella said that battery costs are currently around $180 to $200 a kilowatt-hour and could possibly cut by half down to almost $100. This is the barrier for many electric car manufacturers from mass production.
Reuters previously reported that Tesla may create an electric semi truck that can up to 200 to 300 miles off a single charge, which completely blow pasts Daimler’s eCanter’s range of only a meager 62 miles.
Last month, Cummins Inc., beat Tesla and unveiled its electric semi truck after Tesla had announced few months prior about unveiling its semi truck in September. Now, Daimler beats Tesla to the finish line by launching and deploying its electric trucks.
The anticipation between companies are high. Investors and consumers wait to see which company will be able to mass produce the cheapest and efficient electric trucks.