Mercedes-Benz Trucks is starting practical tests of its battery-electric heavy-duty long-distance truck at an early stage. The shipping giant Amazon and the logistics company Rhenus want to test the eActros LongHaul in real operation as early as 2023, according to the commercial vehicle manufacturer in a recent press release. The two companies have each signed a letter of intent with Mercedes-Benz Trucks.
The e-truck at the logistics service provider Rhenus will be used in many different business areas in order to be able to gain as much experience as possible. For this purpose, the vehicle is to be tested, among other things, in the transport of sea containers and with a tarpaulin trailer for its functionality and suitability for use in everyday life. The first prototypes of the electric truck are already undergoing intensive tests and the eActros LongHaul will also be tested on public roads this year. Series production is planned for 2024.
The eActros LongHaul should have a range of around 500 kilometers with one battery charge and enable high-performance charging – so-called megawatt charging. A “concept prototype” of the eActros LongHaul will be the highlight of Mercedes-Benz Trucks at this year’s IAA Transportation in September in Hanover, the manufacturer announced.
“As with all our e-trucks, we also rely on early practical tests with customers for the eActros LongHaul. In this way, our engineers can incorporate the valuable knowledge gained from real-world operation – especially with regard to high-performance charging – directly into the development of the series vehicle. We are very pleased about the planned partnerships with Amazon and Rhenus.” – Michael Scheib, Head of Product Management Mercedes-Benz Trucks
„Amazon has committed to becoming carbon neutral across the company by 2040, i.e. net zero. The transport area is central on this pathsays Andreas Marschner, Vice President, Amazon Transportation Services. Because of the existing range limitations of batteries, the charging process is a key challenge that needs to be addressed. “Building high power charging solutions is a promising approach and we look forward to testing it with our partners“, says Marschner.
„Of course, the so-called depot charging forms the basis for the use of battery-electric commercial vehicles“, explains Sascha Hähnke, Managing Director of Rhenus Transport. “But if we want to use significantly higher quantities across Germany in the future and, above all, over longer distances, we will have to use every other charging alternative. And of course this also includes high-performance charging on the go and, ideally, during the statutory rest periods. This is the only way to achieve optimum truck capacity utilization.“
Practical use part of the project “High-performance charging in long-distance truck traffic”
Amazon and Rhenus are planning to test the eActros LongHaul as part of the test project “High-performance charging in long-distance truck transport” (HoLa) under the auspices of the VDA. The aim of HoLa is the development, operation and scientific support of a high-performance charging infrastructure for battery-powered long-distance transport. In addition to Daimler Truck, other consortium partners from industry and research are involved in the project.
CCS charging stations will initially be installed at several locations along the A2 between Berlin and North Rhine-Westphalia. As the project progresses, the locations are to be equipped with charging stations that support the megawatt charging system (MCS). Daimler Truck is extensively involved in the development of the new MCS charging standard as an active member of CharIN – the global association for the standardization of charging infrastructure.
The HoLa charging points are to be installed at several locations along the A2. These are located both directly on the motorway and in logistics centers. In this way, the system can be tested under real conditions and authentic user experiences can be gained. One focus of testing is on the fast charging of e-trucks: The battery-electric vehicles should be able to be charged at high power within the statutory break time of 45 minutes.
Customer driver testing is an integral part of the development of e-trucks
A team from Mercedes-Benz Trucks specializing in customer driver testing will accompany the customers throughout the project period. The e-truck drivers receive extensive instruction on how to use the vehicle and the charging system. In the form of regular interviews and questionnaires, the feedback from the drivers should be consolidated and evaluated for the further development of the prototypes and the charging technology. Measuring instruments are also installed in the e-trucks, which collect data while driving and transmit it to Mercedes-Benz Trucks for evaluation. Selected data will then be made available to the research institutions involved.
The eActros LongHaul for locally CO2-neutral long-distance transport
Batteries with lithium iron phosphate cell technology (LFP) are used in the eActros LongHaul. These are characterized above all by a long service life and more usable energy. The long range with one battery charge in conjunction with megawatt charging should enable overall ranges at the level of conventional trucks and thus enable use in two-shift operation. The batteries of the eActros LongHaul can be charged from 20 to 80 percent in series production at a charging station with around one megawatt of power in well under 30 minutes.
The vehicle is also characterized by a balanced drive for a pleasant driving experience. In addition, the eActros LongHaul has numerous safety innovations from the manufacturer. The core of the Mercedes-Benz Trucks concept for battery-electric long-distance transport is to offer customers a holistic transport solution consisting of vehicle technology, advice, charging infrastructure and services. The eActros LongHaul should therefore be the right choice for customers in terms of profitability, sustainability and reliability.