Dive Insight:

Roger Nielsen, DTNA CEO, said he is serious about providing battery-electric Class 6-8 trucks, which he said will one day replace diesel-powered trucks.

Last April, speaking at the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo in Long Beach, California, Nielsen declared DTNA was on the side of battery-electric trucks, eschewing hydrogen fuel cells, which create electric power and have zero emissions.

“The road to emissions-free transportation is going to be driven with battery-electric vehicles, ” Nielsen said on April 24. “I believe the future is electric.”

The problem is working out the kinks. As the industry found out with hybrid diesel-electric trucks, unforeseen mechanical consequences can pop up. Many fleet owners prefer to test the vehicles out before making a large purchase.

Almost a year after Nielsen’s proclamation, Richard Howard, the DTNA senior vice president of on-highway sales and marketing, said the testing done by real fleets will add continuous feedback that contributes to ongoing design and innovation of the trucks.

The news follows Nikola Corp.’s recent reverse merger with VectoIQ, a publicly traded acquisition company. The two agreed to create a company focused on the development of zero-emission trucks. The new company will be known as Nikola Corp. and is expected to remain NASDAQ-listed under the new ticker symbol “NKLA.” Nikola said it will accelerate production of battery-electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles in the Class 8 truck market and sell to fleets eager to produce zero emissions as they transport goods.

DTNA’s Freightliner eCascadia and eM2 are part of Daimler Trucks’ global electrified truck initiative, joining the all-electric Saf-T-Liner eC2 Jouley school bus, the Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp.’s MT50e and the FUSO eCanter in North America.