Daimler Trucks introduced its Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck in Stuttgart, Germany this week, touting it as the first fully electric truck with an admissible total weight of up to 26 tonnes.
This means that in the future, heavy-duty trucks will be able to take part in urban distribution operations with zero local emissions and hardly a whisper. The market launch of this technology is conceivable for Daimler Trucks at the beginning of the next decade.
In the light distribution sector, Daimler Trucks has been demonstrating the day-to-day suitability of the fully electric truck with the Fuso Canter E-Cell for the past two years. The development of electric trucks and series production maturity are fixed parts of the strategy of Daimler Trucks to build on its technological leadership. The truck division is investing the fields of research and development flow for the development of the full electric drive.
“Electric drive systems previously only saw extremely limited use in trucks,” said Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, responsible for Daimler Trucks & Buses at the board of management. “Nowadays costs, performance and charging times develop further so rapidly that now there is a trend reversal in the distribution sector: the time is ripe for the electric truck.
“In light distribution trucks, our Fuso Canter E-Cell has already been undergoing intensive customer trials since 2014. And 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.”
Better air quality, less noise and restricted-access zones are now important keywords in large metropolises worldwide, because more and more people worldwide are moving to cities. Large cities such as London and Paris are considering future bans on internal combustion engines in city centers. That means there will be a need for fully electric trucks to ensure food and other goods for daily needs.
Until recently, the use of fully electric drives systems in trucks seemed to be unimaginable — especially because of the high costs of the batteries coupled with a low range. The technology has now become much more mature.
Daimler Trucks expects the costs of batteries to lower by the factor 2.5 between 1997 and 2025, and at the same time, performance will improve by the same factor over the same period.
Stefan Buchner, head of Mercedes-Benz Trucks, said, “With the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck, we are underlining our intention to systematically developing 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 to the operating ranges and the charging infrastructure in daily transport operations. Because we think the entry of this technology into the series production is already conceivable at the beginning of the next decade.”
Technically the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck is based on a heavy-duty, three-axle short-radius Mercedes-Benz distribution truck. In addition, however, the developers at Daimler Trucks have totally revised the drive concept. The entire conventional drivetrain is being replaced by a new electrically driven rear axle with electric motors directly adjacent to the wheel hubs.
The power is supplied by a battery pack consisting of three lithium-ion battery modules. This results in a range of up to 200 km — enough for a typical daily delivery tour. Thanks to the integrated concept with motors adjacent to the wheel hubs, the batteries are housed in a crash-proof location inside the frame.