Mercedes unveils its vision of the future of road haulage

The German manufacturer says its newly developed electric lorries are its take on road transport to come and can offer significant savings and boost efficiency.
Wolfgang Bernhard, the Daimler Trucks, chairman stands next to an Urban eTruck electric lorry at the IAA Nutzfahrzeuge (IAA Commercial Vehicles) fair in Germany. Julian Startenschulte / AFP
Wolfgang Bernhard, the Daimler Trucks, chairman stands next to an Urban eTruck electric lorry at the IAA Nutzfahrzeuge (IAA Commercial Vehicles) fair in Germany. Julian Startenschulte / AFP

Daimler has unveiled its vision of freight haulage of the future at this year’s IAA International Commercial Vehicle Show in Hannover, where the focus is on the megatrends to come: digitalisation; and e-mobility.

Mercedes-Benz Trucks, owned by Daimler, is linking the two in the Urban eTruck, which it debuted at the show. The vehicle is Mercedes’ take on the networked and all-electric distribution lorry of tomorrow, the German firm says.

The Urban eTruck “illustrates the fascinating possibilities of connectivity, electric drive systems, future display and control technologies, telematics and a largely self-sufficient power supply,” Mercedes says.

The eTruck defines the latest developments in all-electric vehicles in the heavy short-radius distribution sector, it adds. The triple-axle vehicle with a permissible gross weight of 26 tonnes produces zero local emissions and runs silently, yet the comany says it is “equal to a lorry with an internal combustion engine in terms of load and performance and, thanks to its innovative power supply, it is also economical”.

The Urban eTruck is heavier than a diesel or petrol-powered equivalent, but Mercedes says the additional weight of 1700kg will be more or less cancelled out as the EU Commission is in favour of increasing the permissible gross vehicle weight of lorries with alternative drives by a maximum of 1 tonne.

The lithium-ion battery capacity of the Urban eTruck is 212kWh, giving a range of up to 200km – normally enough for a typical day’s delivery round, the firm says.

Across the roof, a three-dimensional spoiler connects the cab with the body of the lorry for the cooling unit concealed behind the spoiler. Mirror cameras replace the conventional outside mirrors.

“Overall, the Urban eTruck represents the polarity between ‘hot & cool’ that is characteristic of Mercedes-Benz design,” says the company.

Mercedes will also unveil its Fuso eCanter light lorry at the IAA as a preview of the small-scale production run that will be delivered to customers in Europe, the United States and Japan as of 2017.

“The results of a year-long fleet test with the second-generation electric Canter have shown that around €1,000 [Dh4,125] per 10,000km can be saved with this vehicle compared to a diesel version,” Mercedes says.

It adds that maintenance cost reductions of around 30 per cent can also be achieved.

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Published: September 27, 2016 04:00 AM

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