Daimler Truck AG
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Daimler enters Classes 4-5 EV market with Rizon brand

May 1, 2023
The intention with the Classes 4-5 Rizon truck is to take the best out of the diesel world and enhance it with zero-emission features, company executives say.

Add Rizon to the list of new nameplates looking to capture early share in the medium-duty electric truck market—but unlike the many startups in the space, Rizon is the new North American brand of global giant Daimler Truck. The brand’s advantages include the parent company’s expertise in commercial vehicles and a “comprehensive ecosystem,” including an expert distribution network for Rizon trucks, company leaders explained in an online media presentation on April 27.

“Rizon represents Daimler Truck’s commitment to helping our customers make the transition to sustainable mobility solutions. With reliable electric vehicle products and services now on offer, there is no longer any reason to wait,” Daimler Truck Board Member, President, and CEO Karl Deppen said. “We know trucks and we know what we are doing.”

Rizon initially will offer three model variants: the e18L, e16L, and the e16M, providing a mix of configurations and options. The trucks are suited to a variety of applications such as dry vans, flatbeds, landscape dumps, and reefers. The Rizon brand and its vehicle offerings will be presented to the public for the first time at the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo, May 1-4, in Anaheim, California.

The Classes 4 and 5 medium-duty battery-electric vehicles range in size from 15,995 lb. to 17,995 lb. gross vehicle weight (GVW). The L variants, with three battery packs, are able to run from 110 to 160 miles on a single charge, according to the manufacturer. The M variant with two battery packs has a range of 75 to 110 miles.

All Rizon trucks will be built using proven quality assurance standards developed by Daimler Truck and in practice at more than 40 manufacturing locations around the world, the company noted. 

“The intention when we designed the Rizon truck was to take the best out of the diesel world and enhance it with zero-emission features,” said Andreas Deuschle, global head of Rizon. “The cabover design provides superior maneuverability and visibility, and the driver will experience very smooth steering and easy handling of the truck at all speeds."

“The structure of our chassis is very bodybuilder friendly so it matches with a big variety of standard bodies," Deuschle added. "Details such as integrated power takeoff are available, of course, as truck customers need them for their use cases.”

Powertrain details

Rizon trucks use an integrated eAxle that combines the electric motor, inverter, and gearbox into a single unit. This eliminates mechanical torque losses of conventional powertrains and improves the regenerative braking effectiveness. The powertrain creates maximum power of 173 horsepower/317 lb.-ft. with a continuous power of 114 hp/169 lb.-ft.

“The result is very smooth, torsion-free driving,” Deuschle said. “Furthermore, it allows the positioning of the batteries in the most space-efficient manner below the frame. Having a look at the truck chassis, you will see a very robust, crash-tested enclosure around our battery packs. We accept the additional weight of this safety feature as we are convinced that it is a must-have to reduce the risk of a battery damage in case of a side impact.”

Rizon trucks are capable of being charged by two types of battery charging systems: Level 2 AC charging (J1772) and DC fast charging CCS1 compliant. Depending on the battery size, AC charging takes five to six hours, while DC charging takes 45 to 90 minutes, Deuschle noted.

Rizon EVs also incorporate Daimler Truck’s safety technology such as Active Brake Assist and Active Side Guard Assist.

“The truck’s advanced passive and active safety systems offer a peace of mind that newer players in the market just can't match,” Deppen added.

The Rizon brand also will carry a class-leading warranty package that protects the powertrain, chassis and cab, for five years/75,000 miles and the high-voltage batteries for five years/120,000 miles.

Distribution plans

See also: ICE dominates pickups, but electrics proliferate

Fleet owners and truck drivers will be “comprehensively supported” through an experienced dealership network offering a range of services. Consulting on AC and DC charging as well as telematics access will be available. Flexible financing is provided by Daimler Truck Financial Services.

Order books are now open, with test drives to start in the third quarter of 2023. Starting Q4, Rizon trucks will be distributed in the U.S. through an exclusive agreement with Velocity Vehicle Group, a privately held $3 billion commercial vehicle dealership network with more than 80 global outlets.

With sales consultants and technicians experienced in commercial e-mobility, Velocity touchpoints will serve as “one-stop shops” for customers interested in making the jump to electric trucks. Additionally, Velocity will be appointing dealers for Rizon in areas outside of Velocity’s footprint to provide a seamless network across the United States. 

“We're not only very passionate about alternative and zero-emission fuels, we have to be passionate about it—being located in the epicenter of the clean commercial vehicle transition, right here in California,” said Brad Fauvre, president and co-founder of the Velocity Vehicle Group. “We've collaborated with Daimler Truck early in the development stages of the Freightliner eCascadia and the eM2, by supporting the Innovation Fleets here.

“And we've been running electric trucks in our own fleet. That means we also went through the electric journey ourselves, so we understand the challenges when it comes to getting infrastructure installed. We know that there are some tough times ahead for fleets that face the pressure to convert [to EVs], whether driven by regulations or ESG commitments. We know that with this product we can offer another option—another tool on the belt to choose from that is highly cost-effective.”

Indeed, incentive funding and tax credits in certain markets mean that Rizon upfront costs will be comparable to Classes 4-5 diesel trucks, Fauvre added.

“We believe this is by far the best engineered truck in the segment,” he said. “Combined with our best-in-class service offering, the Rizon truck will be an excellent way to start your electric journey.”

About the Author

Kevin Jones | Editor, Trailer/Body Builders

Kevin Jones is the Editor of Trailer/Body Builders. 

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