While feeling confident about the continual growth of urban areas and the fast-paced advancements in electric vehicle technology, Mercedes-Benz Trucks announced that it’s bringing the world´s first all-electric heavy-duty truck to market in Europe through limited customer trials.
The automaker’s parent company, Daimler Trucks, also has plans to market its all-electric Mitsubishi Fuso eCanter medium-duty truck this year in the U.S.
The Urban eTruck with 27.5 tons GVW and a range of up to 124 miles made a big impression at the International Commercial Vehicle Show in 2016.
“Following the world premiere in September 2016 at the International Commercial Vehicle Show the customer reaction was outstanding,” said Stefan Buchner, head of Mercedes-Benz Trucks worldwide.
“We are currently talking to around 20 potential customers from the disposal, foodstuffs and logistics sector. With the small series we are now rapidly taking the next step towards a series product. By 2020 we want to be on the market with the series generation.”
The Urban eTruck, with a 14-ton payload, will initially be made available to customers in Germany and then make its way to other European nations.
“It will be used in real transportation applications there,” Buchner said. “The aim is to use actual application scenarios and requirement profiles together with the customer to further optimize the vehicle concept and the system configurations of the electric truck. The tests will include use in shift operation, charging times plus battery and range management.”
Buchner is excited and confident about the roll Mercedes Trucks will play in developing electric trucks and supporting technologies, including autonomous driving.
“When it comes to future technological issues we have set the standards in the sector, for instance with regard to electric and autonomous driving plus connectivity,” Buchner said. “2017 will now be our year of implementation: step by step we are developing the vehicles and systems to achieve market maturity.”
To demonstrate various application possibilities, 20- and 27.5-ton models will be equipped with a refrigerated body, a dry box body and a flatbed. Together with a special charger which takes into account the increased demands on a truck, the vehicles will be driven by customers for a year and supported by Mercedes-Benz Trucks road testing department. During this time the use profiles and areas of application will be recorded and the knowledge gained and expectations compared.
The Urban eTruck is part of a comprehensive electric initiative from Daimler Trucks. The medium-duty electric truck Fuso eCanter will be available through a global small series in 2017. Around 150 vehicles will be handed over to selected customers in Europe, Japan and the U.S.
Better air quality, lower noise levels and entry restrictions are now important catchwords in growing metros around the globe, Mercedes reports. The automaker anticipates that all-electric trucks will take care of supplying people in many urban areas with groceries or other goods needed on a daily basis.
Daimler Trucks reports that rapid innovation in the electric auto market will continue to lower costs. Daimler expects the battery cost for an all-electric truck to fall by a factor of 2.5 from 1997 to 2025 – from $500 per kWh to $212 per kWh. At the same time the energy density of the batteries available during this same period are expected to rise by the same factor from 80 Watt hours per pound to 200 Watt hours per pound.