Skip to main content

Tesla Semi is ‘fun’, but they will ‘learn the hard way’, says Daimler Trucks CEO

If Tesla delivers on all the specs that they have been promising since the launch of the Tesla Semi electric truck last year, it is going to be a real problem for the rest of the industry, but industry leader Daimler Truck is still not impressed.

They call Tesla’s electric truck project ‘fun’, but they think Tesla will ‘learn the hard way’ that the trucking industry is a tough one.

Daimler Trucks CEO Martin Daum has previously commented on Tesla Semi – casting doubts about the veracity of the claims made about the specs.

He said that if the claims Tesla is making about its electric semi truck are true, they are breaking the laws of physics.

Now Daum commented on the Tesla Semi program again and gave them a backhanded compliment.

He told Business Insider last week:

“They’re fun, it’s an interesting market. We take every competitor seriously, Tesla has proved they really have the tenacity to really go through huge losses to capture the market. But trucking is a difficult business. They will learn the hard way, trucking is not like passenger cars where one size fits all. There’s a lot of variety in trucking…the United States is a highly competitive market, so as I said, they’re fun.”

While Daum doesn’t sound impressed, Daimler Trucks has been leading some electric truck programs of their own to try to compete with Tesla Semi.

The German truck manufacturer answered back with the launch of its own electric truck group along with the unveiling of two more electric trucks, including an electric version of their Cascadia to compete with Tesla Semi.

It competes with the Tesla Semi in size and capacity, but it has a very limited range compared to the Tesla Semi: 250 miles vs 500 miles – and Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the production version of their electric truck could have an even longer range.

Daimler said that it would deliver a fleet of eCascadia electric trucks to partners by end of last year – beating Tesla’s 2019 target, but they instead delivered another smaller all-electric Freightliner truck last month.

Electrek’s Take

I think Daimler is in for a rude awakening.

While Tesla is often behind on its timelines, the company generally delivers on the promised specs.

If that’s the case with the Tesla Semi, Daimler will see Tesla passed them by when it comes to electric trucks by an incredible margin.

But the most important spec is the overall cost of ownership. Trucking is a business and regardless of how good the specs actually are, Tesla will need to deliver on that in order to steal away Daimler’s business.

Tesla has been talking about an industry-leading cost of operation of about $1.26 per mile. If that turns out to be true, it certainly wouldn’t be “fun” for Daimler.

Let’s see how it plays out. We expect more new about Tesla Semi later this year.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading Electrek— experts who break news about Tesla, electric vehicles, and green energy, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow Electrek on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our YouTube channel for the latest reviews.



Avatar for Fred Lambert Fred Lambert

Fred is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at Electrek.

You can send tips on Twitter (DMs open) or via email:

Through, you can check out Fred’s portfolio and get monthly green stock investment ideas.