Friday, February 17, 2017

All Electric Heavy Duty Freight Truck to Go On Trial with European Road Haulage Operators

25 Tonne Vehicle Series Production Expected for 2020
Shipping News Feature
GERMANY – EUROPE – Mercedes-Benz, part of the Daimler Truck group, says it is to produce the world’s first all-electric heavy-duty freight truck in a limited production run to allow selected customers to trial the vehicle prior to planned market release in in 2020. The Urban eTruck is a 25 tonne gross vehicle weight, carries a payload of 12.8 tonnes and has a range of up to 200 kilometres that is aimed at customers such as road haulage operators who serve high density urban markets and don’t require high mileage distance runs from their vehicles.

The initial production run this year will see a low number of vehicles produced for selected users in Germany who will be used by them in their real world transport operations to test the vehicles and the concept. Other customers throughout Europe will follow and Mercedes will use their feedback to fine tune the vehicle prior to general production and release to the market. The trials will last through 2017 and then wider release should occur.

With a number of cities around Europe experiencing critical issues in air quality due to emission, especially from diesel vehicles, Mercedes-Benz’s offering could prove a real boon to operators who might find that they have a sudden need for a zero emissions vehicle to operate in cities that are rapidly bringing in stringent local air quality controls. The new vehicle will complement Daimler Trucks light-duty FUSO eCanter electric truck that is undergoing a similar testing regime globally this year. Stefan Buchner, Head of Mercedes-Benz Trucks worldwide, explained:

“We are currently talking to around 20 potential customers from the disposal, foodstuffs and logistics sectors. With the small series we are now rapidly taking the next step towards a series product. By 2020 we want to be on the market with the series generation. When it comes to future technological issues we have set the standards in the sector, for instance with regard to electric and autonomous driving plus connectivity. 2017 will now be our year of implementation: step by step we are developing the vehicles and systems to achieve market maturity.”

Road haulage operators’ eyes will immediately be drawn to that 12.8 tonne weight limit for so large a vehicle. Inevitably the weight of the batteries and associated equipment detracts substantially from the usefulness of a truck with a heavier payload. In many fixed contracts however, where weights are not the issue, there will surely be a niche market at the very least for such a vehicle whilst battery and other low or zero emission technologies progress. Provided of course the new trucks can be shown to be an economic proposition over time.