Electric Vehicles, Featured, News

Fully electric Mercedes-Benz truck for heavy-duty distribution

Mercedes-Benz Trucks has delivered yet another all-electric eActros to a customer for on-road testing. The recipient this time around is Meyer-Logistik. For one year, the company based in Friedrichsdorf in Hessen will now be test-driving a 25-tonne truck with a refrigeration unit for transporting temperature-sensitive foodstuffs from the warehouse to different supermarkets in the centre of Hamburg. The weight of the transported goods can be up to 10 tonnes. The whole day’s tour is approx. 100 kilometres long and is dealt with by one driver in one shift at first. There is no need to recharge during the trip because the range of the eActros is up to 200 km. The vehicle hand-over to Meyer-Logistik was on Thursday on the warehouse premises of a major German supermarket chain in Stelle near Hamburg.

Meyer-Logistik is one of twenty customers from different industries that have integrated the heavy-duty electric truck into their fleet. Each of these selected customers will put a near-series version of either the 18 or 25-tonne variant through its paces in real operations and will test the respective vehicle for its suitability for their daily field of work. The aim is to make locally emission-free and quiet driving a reality in cities by 2021, also with series heavy-duty trucks – and all of this as economically viable as with a diesel truck. The test series consists of two phases, each with ten customers and spanning a total of around two years.

The first eActros of the so-called “innovation fleet” has been in action since September with a customer, and the second one was handed over at the beginning of October. The rest of the first phase of vehicle hand-overs will be completed by the end of the year. All test customers transport goods in urban areas and use the eActros for tasks which would otherwise be carried out by conventional diesel vehicles – in a wide range of different sectors and categories. The palette ranges from food to building and industrial materials. The body variants range from refrigerated and box bodies to bulk goods and tarpaulin bodies.

Field tests are an important milestone on the way to the series product

Oliver Kraft, Head of Key Account Management Mercedes-Benz Trucks Germany: “The practical tests with the eActros are an important milestone for us on the way to the series product. Each customer makes a valuable contribution towards the further development right up to series production by using and testing the eActros in a very special area of everyday operation. Our experts are available to our customers around the clock. Before starting, we have given our customers intensive advice. That includes working together to define their individual requirements, choose the corresponding variant of the eActros and sort out questions about the required infrastructure. Before the tests started, our experts gave the drivers and the customers’ dispatchers thorough coaching.”

“We are delighted that we now have our long-standing customer Meyer-Logistik testing the eActros for us, and we look forward to receiving many interesting insights,” Kraft continued.

Meyer-Logistik: alternative drive concepts are an important factor

Matthias Strehl, Managing Director of Meyer-Logistik: “As a company that supplies supermarkets with foodstuffs in metropolitan areas, we would like to keep the impact of our work on humans and the environment as small as possible. That is why using alternative drive concepts has been such an important part of our corporate strategy long since. We are happy to be able to test drive the eActros in Hamburg now. We think e-trucks are perfect for delivering over that last mile – for example to supermarkets. Because they are locally emission-free and very silent, which really reduces the burden on local residents.”

Schmitz Cargobull: refrigerated replacement box, electric cooling unit

The refrigerated replacement box on the eActros used by Meyer-Logistik is the “W.KO COOL” model supplied by Schmitz Cargobull. It has optimum insulation for energy-efficient transport of refrigerated goods. This robust body is ideally suited for intensive day-to-day use. The purely electrically operated cooling unit functions completely emission-free and is specially designed for use in distribution traffic. “Electromobility for commercial vehicles is a highly significant topic that opens up new opportunities. We use these with our refrigerated unit,” said Jörg Irsfeld, Head of IKAM at Schmitz Cargobull.

The eActros: architecture specifically configured for electric drive

The frame of the Mercedes-Benz Actros is used as the basis for the eActros. Otherwise, the vehicle architecture has been configured specifically for an electric drive system, with a high proportion of specific components. The drive axle, for example, is based on the ZF AVE 130 that has already proved its worth in hybrid and fuel-cell buses from Mercedes-Benz, and has now been fundamentally revised for the eActros. The drive system comprises two electric motors located close to the rear-axle wheel hubs. They have an output of 126 kW each, together with a maximum torque of 485 Nm each. The gearing ratios turn this into 11 000 Nm each, resulting in a performance that is comparable with that of a diesel truck. The maximum permissible axle load stands at the usual 11.5 tonnes. The energy comes from lithium-ion batteries with 240 kWh. Depending on the available charging capacity, they can be fully charged within two to eleven hours (at 150 and 20 kW).

Daimler commercial vehicles with an extensive electric portfolio

Daimler has already been gaining experience with electric trucks since 2010, and since last year it has had its first series-production, fully electric truck in the market and in customer hands: the Fuso eCanter light-duty truck. The first eCitaro buses will be delivered from the end of the year, and will go into practical operations in the context of so-called customer-oriented driving trials. In the van sector, the eVito from Mercedes-Benz Vans has been orderable since November 2017 and the first deliveries are due very soon. The eSprinter will follow in 2019. Therefore, the vehicles from Daimler Trucks, Daimler Buses and Mercedes-Benz Vans thus ensure that every aspect of inner-city transport is catered for with electric vehicles.

Sponsorship as part of the “Concept ELV²” project

As part of the “Concept ELV²” project, the development and testing of heavy-duty electric trucks for distribution operations is subsidised to different degrees by the Federal Environment Ministry (BMU) and the Federal Ministry of Economy and Energy (BMWi).