Mercedes-Benz launches electric Urban eTruck

Daimler makes another step into the electric vehicle market with the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck


German manufacturer Daimler AG has unveiled its latest move into electric transport with the launch of the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck overnight in Stuttgart.

With its sights set on the distribution sector, Daimler says the new fully-electric vehicle is based on a heavy-duty, three-axle short-radius Mercedes-Benz truck and has a range up to 200km and an admissible weight of up to 26 tonnes.

While its design stems from an existing vehicle with a 4,900mm wheelbase, Daimler says its developers completely revised the truck’s drive concept.

Utilising technology developed for the Mercedes-Benz Citaro hybrid bus, the conventional drivetrain has been replaced with an electronically-driven rear axle powered by electric motors directly adjacent to the wheel hubs.

The new drivetrain’s ongoing power is supplied a 212kWh battery pack consisting of three lithium-ion battery modules – which are housed in a ‘crash-proof location’.

The Urban eTruck features 400V motors on each side of the vehicle, each putting out 125kW of power and 500Nm of torque – in combination with the gearing, the torque at each wheel reaches 11,000Nm.

Daimler says “a design-inherent characteristic of an electric motor that it delivers its full torque from very low revs.”

“In terms of driving dynamics, this puts the Urban eTruck at least on a par with similarly powerful diesel-engined counterparts,” it says.

All the ancillary components of the Urban eTruck are electrically operated and heating in the cab is supplied by waste heat from the drivetrain cooling system.

It is also fitted with a modified ZF AVE 130 axle and 495/45 R 22.5 tyres.

While it has zero local emissions and quiet operation benefits, the technology does offer weight considerations.

The electronically-driven axle weighs 1,000kg and the other electrical components combine for another 900kg.

With the addition of the batteries, which weigh 2,500kg, the Urban eTruck comes in 1,700kg heavier than diesel engine counterparts.

However with concessions for alternative technologies by regulating bodies, that may be countered by increased payload limits by the time the technology becomes a commercial possibility.

And that may come at the beginning of the next decade, Mercedes-Benz Trucks head Stefan Buchner says.

“With the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck, we are underlining our intention to systematically developing the electric drive in trucks to series production maturity,” he says.

“This means that we will begin to integrate customers, so as to gain valuable joint experience with respect to the operating ranges and the charging infrastructure in daily transport operations.”

Daimler AG truck and bus chief Dr Wolfgang Bernhard says the economic and environmental benefits of electric vehicles make it a necessary part of the company’s future strategy.

“We intend to establish electric driving as systematically as autonomous and connected driving,” he says.

“Electric drive systems previously only saw extremely limited use in trucks.

“Nowadays costs, performance and charging times develop further so rapidly that now there is a trend reversal in the distribution sector.”

The Urban eTruck is not Daimler’s first move into the electric truck sphere, rather it joins the company’s Fuso Canter E-Cell truck currently being trialled by a German parcel delivery company.

Daimler says the five trial vehicles are being used in a “topographically very demanding environment in urban Stuttgart”, which will “important insights for Daimler Trucks from the customer operation with regard to the further development of the fully electric drive.”

First results of that trial are expected early next year.



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