While Tesla is still planning to expand to other commercial vehicles, Mercedes-Benz has already edged past it when it comes to electric trucks. Its parent company Daimler has recently unveiled a fully-electric truck unit called Urban eTruck.
Daimler has reportedly been working on electric trucks and buses for some years now. And that does not actually come as a surprise given the fact that Daimler is the world’s biggest truck manufacturer.
Notably, the company already has an electric truck for light distribution purposes powered by its own Fuso Canter E-Cell technology. That truck has a maximum capacity of 6-tonne(around 7 tons) and has already been in testing phase since 2014.
Coming back to the Urban eTruck, going by the name, Daimler has indeed designed this electric truck for urban transportation. The truck has a weight capacity of 29 US tons (26 metric tonnes).
The truck is not for long journeys of traditional trucks but more for daily urban needs like grocery deliveries, waste disposal, and supply of goods to industries. Using an electric truck for such operations will bring down noise pollution and reduce air pollution in modern metropolises.
Previously due to the high cost of batteries and lack of demand, there was no particular innovations in the field of electric transportation. But times have changed now particularly with respect to advancement in technology. Tesla has also made the electric cars cool again and brought it under focus of automobile companies. Talking about same, Wolfgang Bernhardt, head of Daimler Trucks & Buses, said
Two key factors have come together. The technology has made great progress and the market is emerging. Great improvements are being made in batteries. Not enough for long-distance, but for distribution.
Urban eTruck runs on three lithium-ion battery modules mounted in the frame. These can supply a combined power of 212 kilowatt-hours which can allow it to travel a maximum distance of 124 miles.
According to the company, this is enough for a daily delivery round but they can increase the power by adding battery modules, thanks to the modular design of the truck’s drive unit. The truck employs Combined Charging System (CCS) high-voltage DC charging. This gives it a 100-kw charging rate which can fully charge the batteries in 2-3 hours.
The demonstration video of Urban eTruck is quite impressive and the vehicles looks quite ready for use. However, these trucks are yet to go into mass production and wide scale adoption. And the company believes that it won’t happen until early in the next decade.
It also expects that by that time, there will be more technological improvements which can further reduce the battery costs by a factor of 2.5 while increasing he efficiency at the same time.