Imagine a future where big rig trucks slide quietly down the road, powered by electricity. Tesla has been working for years to make this vision happen – but this week, Mercedes-Benz beat them to the punch. The Urban eTruck is the world’s first fully electric big rig – and it’s quiet, powerful, and has an admissible total weight of around 29 tons.

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The Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck can only travel up to 124 miles, so it wouldn’t be ideal for the long treks truckers often make to transport goods. Instead, Daimler designed the eTruck for city transportation. A fleet of emissions-free electric trucks could significantly reduce the air pollution many cities battle.

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The company hopes to start producing the eTruck around the “beginning of the next decade.” By that time, they hope technology and battery advances will make the eTruck even more efficient and cost-effective. Daimler board member Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard said in a press release, “Electric drive systems previously only saw extremely limited use in trucks. Nowadays costs, performance, and charging times develop further so rapidly that now there is a trend reversal in the distribution sector: the time is ripe for the electric truck.”

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Daimler’s Fuso Canter E-Cell “light-duty trucks” have undergone tests for a few years now. In Portugal, successful fleet trials saw the light trucks drive just over 31,000 miles in a year. According to the company, the light trucks “reduced CO2 emissions by 37 percent compared to diesel engines.”

Just about a week ago, Elon Musk revealed in a blog post that his company is also working on a Tesla Semi, which they plan to unveil in 2017. Now it’s a race to see who will start producing their electric big rig first.

+ Mercedes-Benz

Via Engadget

Images via Daimler