Mercedes-Benz has presented the electrically driven Urban eTruck for heavy-duty short-radius distribution in city centres. Delivery traffic is constantly increasing in cities, fuelled by booming online trade.
At the same time, regulations aimed at reducing emissions are becoming more strict and the call for environmentally-friendly commercial vehicles louder. Therefore: make way for the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck!
The vehicle is based on a heavy-duty triple-axle distribution truck by Mercedes-Benz and boasts a completely new drive concept: the conventional drivetrain is replaced by an electrically-driven rear axle with electric motors located directly next to the wheel hubs. The maximum output of the motors is 125 kW each whilst the maximum torque is twice 500 Nm.
A package of lithium-ion batteries with a total capacity of 212 kWh provides the necessary energy. This provides for a range of up to 200 kilometres – as a rule, enough for a daily tour. Mounted within the frame, the battery package consists of three modules. All or only one part is used as required. The Urban eTruck is connected to its charging station using a "Combined Charging System“ (CCS) Type 2 plug, standardised throughout Europe. With a charging capacity of 100 kW, completely empty batteries are fully recharged in two to three hours.
For trucks with an alternative drive, the European Commission has approved an increase in the permissible gross vehicle weight of one tonne. As a result the gross vehicle weight of the Urban eTruck is 26 instead of 25 tonnes. Thanks to the EU weight bonus, the payload, now 12.8 tonnes, is only 700 kilogrammes less than for a conventional truck.
Zero emissions, as quiet as a whisper and 12.8 t payload: the Urban eTruck presents a compelling economic and environmental concept. The vehicle will initially be offered to customers in Germany in low two-figure quantities – it will later also be made available to customers in other parts of Europe. There, it will be used in real transport operations. The aim is to use genuine operating scenarios and requirement profiles together with the customer in order to further optimise the vehicle concept and the system designs of the electric truck. For example, usage in multiple-shift operations, charging times as well as battery and range management will all be put through their paces.
Increasing urbanisation and better efficiency in battery technology will smooth the path towards fully electric trucks.
Better air quality, lower noise emissions limits and access restrictions in towns and cities have now become buzzwords in large metropolitan centres worldwide. In future, it will be necessary to transport goods for more and more people in urban areas. This will need to be carried out in a way which is as emission-free and as quiet as possible. For that reason, in many urban areas, fully electric trucks will ensure that people are provided with food and other staple products on a daily basis.
The fast pace of technical development is supporting this trend: Daimler Trucks expects that costs for the batteries of a fully electric truck will fall by a factor of 2.5 when comparing the prices in 1997 and 2025 – from 500 euros per kWh to 200 euros per kWh. At the same time, energy density of the batteries available will increase in this period by the same factor, from 80 Wh per kg to 200 Wh per kg.
At the 2016 IAA for Commercial Vehicles, Daimler also announced a future-oriented product innovation for light-weight short-radius distribution: the FUSO eCanter – following two Canter generations with a hybrid motor, this is the first with a purely electric drive. The eCanter is oriented towards the Canter E-CELL and successfully completed a fleet test in Portugal in 2015. At present it is proving itself in a further fleet test in Germany.
However, the eCanter will, among other things, receive a new battery structure and a new cab and will, on the whole, show itself to be more suitable for daily use as well as being more economic.