India could soon gets its first ever electric truck – Thanks to Daimler
In a first, Daimler India Commercial Vehicle (DICV) is prepping up for the launch of an electric truck in the Indian market. The update was revealed by Union Minister, Nitin Gadkari. While electric buses are already operational here, electric trucks are still to make their debut.
More details about Daimler’s first electric truck for India will be revealed during the ‘Future Mobility’ event, which is scheduled to be held next year. Daimler already has revealed Mercedes electric truck in Europe. It could be the same Mercedes electric range that is brought to India. Or, they can get the Fuso electric truck too.
In international markets, Daimler currently has the light-duty Fuso eCanter electric truck. As per plans, the second-gen version of this electric truck will be launched next year. The current model can run 100 km on a single charge. Its payload carrying capacity is up to 3,200 kg.
First mover advantage
If DICV can execute its plans in a timely manner, it could have the first-mover advantage in the electric truck segment. As of now, most of the leading automakers in the country such as Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Ashok Leyland, and VE Commercial Vehicles are focused on electric buses in the CV segment.
Some of these have already launched electric buses whereas others are in the process of developing such vehicles. There are some China based companies as well such as Beiqi Foton and BYD, who are backing India based firms to manufacture electric buses.
Daimler’s electric truck launch will support government policies that aim to make India a hub for electric vehicle manufacturing. In the long term, the shift to electric will help the country to reduce its dependence on oil imports.
Bullish on Indian market
Daimler understands the potential of Indian market, which is why it has always taken an aggressive approach in terms of new product launches and technology integrations. As may be recalled, the company had earlier launched Bharat Stage 5 (BS-V) trucks even though the requirement was only for BS4. As per the government’s decision, automakers in the country have shifted directly to BS6 from BS4. The plans for an electric truck yet again reveal the company’s positive expectations from the Indian market.
DICV’s current portfolio comprises Fuso and BharatBenz range of trucks and buses. Even though the company’s wholesale numbers were down by 36% to 14,500 units in 2019, the company has announced fresh investments worth Rs 2,277 crore. This was as per an agreement with the Tamil Nadu government signed earlier this year in May.
DICV will be using the investments to increase commercial vehicle production at its Oragadam plant in Chennai. It is expected that around 400 jobs will be created with the expansion plan. Daimler India’s retail sales last year were 15,200 units, which is YoY de-growth of 29% in comparison to 2018. Market share in 9-ton plus category has also dipped from 6% in 2018 to 5.8% in 2019.