The big truck makers are starting to take electric trucks seriously

For years, the leading companies making electric trucks — from delivery vans to pickups to heavy-duty semi-trucks — were startups. The multinational giants that make the bulk of the diesel-powered trucks that carry America’s goods or help companies maintain infrastructure largely idled on the sidelines.

But in 2019, things are changing: battery costs are dropping, and states such as California are ramping up incentives and mandates for zero-emission buses and trucks. And now the big truck makers are starting to make some more substantial moves into this market.

On Wednesday at the ACT Expo — a large advanced fleet conference in Long Beach, California — the CEO of Daimler Trucks, Roger Nielsen, declared that the beginning of the post-internal combustion engine era for commercial vehicles is here. For commercial trucks, “the road to emissions-free driving will be driven by battery electric vehicles,” Nielsen said.