Fuel Smarts

M-B Class 8 Electric Truck to be Tested in Urban Delivery Service

July 28, 2016, by Tom Berg

Heavy electric delivery truck's range is 200 kilometers (124 miles) and its batteries can be recharged in as little as two hours. Photos: Daimler Trucks
Heavy electric delivery truck's range is 200 kilometers (124 miles) and its batteries can be recharged in as little as two hours. Photos: Daimler Trucks

Mercedes-Benz says it has developed a prototype heavy-duty electric distribution truck for “short radius” use in Germany and elsewhere, and that it or trucks like it could be in production by 2020 or soon thereafter.

M-B’s 25-metric-ton (27.6-ton) 6x2 Urban eTruck uses motors at each end of a single driving axle, with power coming from a modular battery pack. It claims quiet operation and zero local emissions, which is valuable in dense cities where much manufacturing occurs and air pollution is causing governments to restrict diesels.

Daimler Trucks announced the Urban eTruck at its headquarters in Stuttgart this week, and said it will be displayed in September at the IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Hannover.

The eTruck is based on a German Actros Class 8 chassis with an all-electric powertrain under and behind the cab. Daimler said the truck’s operating range is 200 kilometers (124 miles), using a three-module lithium-ion battery pack with a 212-kilowatt capacity. Batteries are inside crash-proof cases, and can be recharged in as little as two hours.

Two motors, one adjacent to each wheel hub, together develop 250 kW (335 hp) and peak torque of 1,000 Newton-meters (738 lb-ft.). But gearing raises maxium torque to as much as 11,000 Nm (8,113 lb-ft.), the Daimler announcement said.

Mercedes Urban eTruck has a three-module battery pack between its frame rails and a motor at each end of its single drive axle. 
Mercedes Urban eTruck has a three-module battery pack between its frame rails and a motor at each end of its single drive axle.

“The fact that an electric motor delivers its full torque from very low revs gives the Urban eTruck a considerable level of performance and driving dynamics,” Daimler said.

Tare weight of an eTruck is nearly 3 tons more than a diesel-powered truck, noted Tim Urquhart, a principal analyst at IHS Automotive, in comments about the announcement. But the European Commission plans to increase the weight limit for electric trucks to 26 metric tons, making the effective weight penalty about 700 pounds.

Weight should be further cut and capacity increased by advances in battery technology in coming years, Daimler said. 

The heavy Urban eTruck uses technology from the Fuso Canter E-Cell medium-duty truck, which has successfully undergone trials in Spain and Germany. Daimler is expected to announce production plans for the E-Cell at the IAA Show.

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