Martin Daum, as the Chairman of the Board of Management at Daimler Truck is the global chief when it comes to Daimler Trucks and lowering carbon emissions while increasing safety are the organisations aims he emphasises.
“When you look at our technology focus then it is all about emissions,” says Martin. “We want to potentially, one day, be CO2 free. Now, it is technically possible, but economically not feasible. If the world wants it we can deliver trucks pretty quickly. They will be more expensive than diesel, nothing beats diesel.
“We have safety, but safety and automation are going along hand in hand. We are talking about driver assistance systems. Making the driver become more safe and running more efficiently. From there it will be a small step, eventually to do it without a driver. That’s all still a little bit sci-fi, but it will come in the future. It’s not impossible and we are working on it.
“I would say the best highway truck in the world, that money can buy, is the Cascadia in North America. We get rewarded with extraordinary market share with that truck. It is the core of our global business and it’s a well deserved spot, because we poured in all of the excellence from our German and American engineering.”
During the development phase of the Cascadia for Australia a debate about whether to go with Euro 5 or Euro 6 engine configuration led to Australia deciding to sacrifice a little bit of horsepower to use the same emissions control system as is being used in the US. This keeps the Australian trucks on the same electronic architecture as the US and will benefit from the ongoing updates in the States being available at the same time down under.
Currently, in the US, the state of the art electronics using, what Daimler calls the Detroit Assurance 5.0 electronics which control the truck safety systems, the Cascadia in Australia is capable of running with this system. In the US market, 50 per cent of customer buy the full suite of safety systems and some fleets which have invested in this are reporting a 95 per cent reduction in rear end collisions.
The eCascadia is going through development in the US, as part of the effort in lowering carbon emissions while increasing safety. There are currently twenty of the fully electric powered Cascadia prime movers running on the highways of North America.
“We talk about a C02 free electric truck and then we are technology agnostic about what gives the power to the electric truck,” said Martin. “Either it’s the electric grid and a battery or you have hydrogen fuel cell and use the electricity it produces on the truck.
“A fuel cell truck and a battery electric truck are fairly similar. Both have their challenges for the future and both have their rewards. I see them as complementary technologies. We develop the trucks with batteries, but in way so we can always replace the battery with a fuel cell.”