In 2016 Mercedes-Benz Trucks was the first manufacturer worldwide to present an electric heavy truck. This year the eActros will be on the roads. In the next few weeks, ten vehicles will go to customers who will test their day-to-day suitability and cost-effectiveness in real operating conditions.
One of the purposes of these customer trials is to establish the energy requirement according to operating scenarios and the cost-effectiveness of the eActros. In addition an eco-balance will be established to compare the environmental performance of the electric trucks with that of diesel trucks over the entire lifecycle.
First customer trials, then series production maturity
At first the focus will be on inner-city goods and delivery traffic, as the Mercedes-Benz eActros is well capable of covering the ranges required in this sector. The pilot customers will test the vehicles in real operations for twelve months, and the trucks will then go a second round of customers for a further twelve months. The innovation fleet will therefore be in operation until at least mid-2020. The aim is to achieve series production maturity for economically competitive electric trucks for heavy inner-city distribution operations from 2021.
Ten customers from different sectors in Germany and Switzerland will take part in the customer trials. These sectors range from food to construction and industrial materials. The companies concerned are:
- Dachser, Edeka, Hermes, Kraftverkehr Nagel, Ludwig Meyer, Pfenning Logistics, TBS Rhein-Neckar and Rigterink in Germany,
- Camion Transport and Migros in Switzerland.
Subsidies support sustainable further development
The concept of electric trucks for heavy distribution operations has also convinced the German government: no less than two federal ministries – that for the environment, nature conservation, construction and reactor safety and that for industry and energy – are supporting this project with a total of around ten million euros. Part of this support is to examine the complex challenges arising from the development, production and operation of electric trucks. This includes the use of high voltages (>400 V) and currents (up to 1000 A), battery technology (price, weight, durability, service life, charging time), range and energy requirement, charging infrastructure and logistic concepts, safety requirements, summer and winter suitability and aspects such as resale of the trucks.