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Mercedes-Benz has launched a totally battery-powered electric truck


The ‘Urban e-Truck’ is an all-electric truck developed by Daimler Benz in Germany which was unveiled in Stuttgart today.

Capable of a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of up to 26 tonnes, the rig is capable of achieving a range of up to 200 kilometres. With admittedly short range for most long-range transport, it’s designed as a short-range local commuter truck ideal for last-leg, urban distribution option with a greener carbon footprint than comparable diesel trucks.

While this is not strictly the world’s first ET, there is a bloodline with the light-duty Fuso Canter E-Cell which has been running customer trials since 2014 in Europe racking up over 50,000km. Fuso is part of the Daimler group.

With low emissions, noise and dynamic advantages like instant torque available from the electric drivetrain, in urban and high-density cities the tri-axle chassis with 4900mm (4.9m) wheelbase makes it an agile and ideal truck. Batteries are mounted low and inside the chassis frame to not only reduce the centre of gravity, but protect them in the event of a crash, as well as providing direct and instant power transfer to the high-speed asynchronous motors at each of the two rear wheels.

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The cabin uses wasted drivetrain-cooling system heat, and and electric-powered compressor to condition the air.

Charging is done via the CCS Type 2 standardised electric vehicle recharge connection which in the truck’s case has a depot recharger capable of up to 150kW of oomph. Even with a 100kW recharge system, the truck’s batteries can be recharged in two to three hours.

The E-Truck puts out 250kW (2 X 125kW motors, one per rear wheel) and has a combined torque output of 500Nm per motor and is capable of 11000Nm through a combination of torque and and gearing. Regenerative braking, which uses motors as generators to collect and send electricity created from brake applications back to charge the battery, is also available. Braking and power steering systems are completely electrically-powered.

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E-Truck has been designed to allow varying battery pack options depending on the intended use of the truck, similar to the ability to option different engine and gearbox options upon ordering an internal combustion-powered vehicle. The low-floor portal axles are proven in their use on hybrid and fuel cell Mercedes Benz buses. The axle is a bespoke design however, and allows of 200mm of ground clearance. Tyres have also been changed to lighter super single 495/45R22.5 tyres on the drive axle, and 315/40R22.5 rubber shod on the front and trailing axles, all of which sit on aluminium wheels, again to reduce weight. The drive axle’s maximum vehicle weight is 11.5 tonnes.

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“Electric drive systems previously only saw extremely limited use in trucks,” said Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, Daimler Trucks & Buses Board of Management. “Nowadays costs, performance and charging times develop further so rapidly that now there is a trend reversal.”

“The time is ripe for the electric truck,” Bernhard announced. “With the Mercedes-Benz Urban e-Truck, we are now electrifying the heavy distribution segment up to 26 tonnes. We intend to establish electric driving as systematically as autonomous and connected driving,” he said.

The UN predicts a nine-billion global population by 2025, approximately 70% of which will live in cities. The transition to alternatively-powered freight is surely a leap in the right direction.

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