Skip to Content

Electric Trucks Are Finally Hitting American Roads

September 14, 2017

"The game has started." So says Daimler Trucks Asia chief Mark Llistosella, more than a little ominously, in an interview with Reuters. He’s referring to the fact that electric trucks, once thought absurd, are finally taking to the roads.

Daimler has today announced that UPS will start using three of the automaker's new eCanter electric trucks in the U.S. And four smaller outfits in New York City—the Wildlife Conservation Society, New York Botanical Garden, Habitat for Humanity, and Big Reuse Brooklyn—will also start using the vehicles.

As the Verge notes, the truck’s specifications won’t take your breath away. A battery pack with 83kWh of capacity—about the same as the long-range cars made by Tesla—means the eCanter can travel just 62 miles on a charge. And it can only haul four and a half tons of cargo, which is less than similar internal combustion trucks. Still, they are clean and quiet, and could do a great many favors for inner-city air quality.

Daimler isn’t alone in electrifying trucks. As we’ve reported before, Wrightspeed and Nikola Motor Company are both hoping to help haul freight using electrons. But perhaps most hotly anticipated of all is Tesla’s semi truck, which Elon Musk has today promised will be unveiled on October 26th. Expected to have a range of up to 300 miles, it won't compete with regular semi trucks for long journeys—but it could still manage to shake up the industry for shorter-haul applications.

Deep Dive


Embracing CX in the metaverse

More than just meeting customers where they are, the metaverse offers opportunities to transform customer experience.

Identity protection is key to metaverse innovation

As immersive experiences in the metaverse become more sophisticated, so does the threat landscape.

The modern enterprise imaging and data value chain

For both patients and providers, intelligent, interoperable, and open workflow solutions will make all the difference.

Scientists have created synthetic mouse embryos with developed brains

The stem-cell-derived embryos could shed new light on the earliest stages of human pregnancy.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.