The Mercedes-Benz eActros all-electric truck has been successfully undergoing tough real-world trials with customers for over a year now. As part of the eActros ‘innovation fleet’, in the end of 2018, Mercedes-Benz Trucks began to hand over a total of ten 18- and 25-tonne trucks to customers in Germany and Switzerland for testing under real-world conditions.
The evaluation of tens of thousands of kilometres driven by customers as well as a close exchange with drivers, dispatchers and fleet managers have enabled the experts at Mercedes-Benz Trucks to gain numerous findings. These flow directly into the further development of the eActros toward series production, which is due to commence in 2021. Overall, the customer feedback and test results demonstrate that, with the Mercedes-Benz eActros, heavy-duty short-radius distribution is already possible with local zero emissions and quiet operation.
This week at a customer event in Wörth on Rhine, Mercedes-Benz Trucks presented a progress report on the ‘innovation fleet’. In the next step, some 10 additional customers will each take delivery of a first-phase eActros for further trials of around one year's duration.
Andreas von Wallfeld, Head of Marketing, Sales and Services at Mercedes-Benz Trucks: "We're absolutely on the right track with the concept behind the Mercedes-Benz eActros. For me, this is the key finding after more than a year of extremely intensive real-world trials with our battery-electric heavy-duty short-radius distribution truck. I'm extremely thankful to our customers, whose active support is making a highly valuable contribution on the road to series production of the vehicle."
New findings from real-world trials
One of the many new findings from the practical tests is that the range of up to 200km of the eActros is a realistic figure – regardless of payload, route or topography. In terms of availability and performance, the eActros is in no way inferior to a conventional diesel-engined truck in urban traffic, on freeways or in overland traffic.
The cooling system for the cargo and the air-conditioning system – both electrically operated – functioned perfectly not only during this year's very hot summer but also at low winter temperatures. Drivers are very impressed by the continuously available torque across the entire speed range and particularly also by the vehicle's quiet operation and the pleasant, smooth driving experience. In addition, if the driver adopts an anticipatory driving style, electric energy can be recovered through recuperation, involving braking of the motors. This makes it seldom necessary to operate the brake pedal.
eActros used in different sectors and categories
All ‘innovation fleet’ customers use the eActros for tasks, which would otherwise be carried out by conventional diesel vehicles – but in completely different sectors and categories. The spectrum ranges from groceries to building supplies and raw materials. The range of requirements means that the vehicles are fitted with a variety of bodies. The body variants range from refrigerated and box bodies to bulk goods and tarpaulin bodies.
The customers and operating locations for the first phase of the ‘innovation fleet’ are:
- Hermes (Friedewald/Hessen)
- TBS Transportbeton (Mannheim)
- Meyer-Logistik (Hamburg)
- EDEKA (Berlin)
- Rigterink (Flörsheim am Main)
- Dachser (Stuttgart)
- Pfenning Logistics (Mannheim)
- Camion Transport (St. Gallen)
- Migros (Zürich area)
- Nagel-Group (Hamburg)
The eActros is based on the frame of the Mercedes-Benz Actros. However, the vehicle's architecture has been resolutely designed around an electric drive system and thus features a high percentage of vehicle-specific components. Two electric motors near the wheel hubs of the rear axle provide the drive, each delivering an output of 126 kW and 485 Nm maximum torque.
Furthermore, the transmission ratio used sees this brought up to 11,000 Nm on each wheel. The drive power is therefore on par with a conventional truck. Lithium-ion batteries with 240 kWh capacity provide the eActros with the required energy. Depending on the available charging output, the batteries can be charged completely within as little as two hours (at 150 kW).
The development and testing of the heavy-duty electric truck in short-radius distribution operations is sponsored as part of the ‘Concept ELV²’ project to varying degrees by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).