Mercedes have unveiled their Urban eTruck, which they claim is a first for vehicles of this weight. It has a range of 200km (125 miles), and a load capacity comparable with that of diesel.
The design is based on a heavy-duty, three-axle, short-radius Mercedes-Benz distribution truck.
The key to the success of the electric truck is that the entire conventional drivetrain has been replaced by an electrically driven rear axle, with electric motors directly adjacent to the wheel hubs. This idea is derived from the electric rear axle which was developed by Mercedes for their Citaro hybrid bus.
The power for the truck is supplied by a battery pack, which consists of three lithium ion battery modules. These are housed in a crash-proof location within the frame of the truck, thanks to the integrated concept in with the motors. This is enough power for up to 200km of driving, which is enough for a typical daily delivery tour.
Mercedes say the battery powered trucks are becoming a credible option, as developments in the technology surrounding batteries mean that costs are falling, so that the £/kWh rate is improving, while kWh/kg performance is rising.
Stefan Buchner, the head of Mercedes-Benz trucks, said; “With the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck, we are underlining our intention to systematically develop the electric drive in trucks to series production maturity. This means that we will begin to integrate customers, so as to gain valuable joint experience with respect tot he operating ranges and the charging infrastructure in daily transport operations. We think that the entry of this technology into the series production is already conceivable at the beginning of the next decade.”
Daimler Trucks have been running customer trials of their Fuso Canter E-Cell since 2014, which have been very effective in the light distribution sector. Dr Wolfgang Bernhard, responsible for Daimler Trucks and Buses at the board of management, said the time is now ripe for an electric truck in the heavy distribution sector.
“With the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck, we are now electrifying the heavy distribution segment up to 26 tonnes. We intend to establish electric driving as systematically as autonomous and connected driving.”