Daimler rolls near-series, all-electric truck

July 27, 2016 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Past week, e-car world champion Tesla aired plans to extend the concept of electric powertrains to commercial vehicles. This week, already, Daimler upstaged the glitzy carmaker: The company introduced an all-electric truck, the Mercedes-Benz urban eTruck.

So far, electric driving used to be matter of passenger vehicles and sports cars; trucks and buses stuck to their traditional diesel powertrains, despite all their drawbacks of noise and harmful emissions. This is no longer true: Daimler, not only a manufacturer of coveted luxury cars but also one of the world’s largest players in the market for commercial vehicles, has introduced a relatively large truck with an all-electric powertrain, and the company signalizes that the time is right to bring electric trucks to the global markets. “After 120 years of diesel-driven trucks, electric mobility has arrived at this market”, said Wolfgang Bernhard, general Manager of Daimler’s trucks and buses business unit.

Hitherto, electric trucks could not compete against conventional ones in terms of cost, performance and driving range. “Ten years ago, the battery alone made up one third of the weight of the entire vehicle”, Bernhard said. Now, the technology is advanced enough to match and surpass diesel-driven trucks, albeit only in certain model roles.

The benefits of electric powertrains come to fruition in application fields where the absence of noise and exhaust gases is an advantage and the still relatively short range is not a disadvantage. This holds true in urban and metropolitan goods distribution.


Batteries between rails, motors near the axle:
The urban eTruck is designed for electromobility  

And this is exactly what Daimler’s urban eTruck is designed for. With a total weight of 26 metric tons and a motor performance of 2 x 125 kW, the eTruck is a rather grown-up vehicle. The driving range is 200 km (about 125 miles) – enough for tasks like urban goods distribution, but still not enough for long-distance transport, Berhnard admits. Unlike the smaller and older Canter eCell truck that represents a conventional design where the diesel engine has been replaced by en electric motor, the urban eTruck is design from scratch for an electric powertrain. The batteries