Series production of the Mercedes-Benz eActros is due to start in 2021 at the Wörth plant – alongside the existing manufacture of trucks with combustion engines, Daimler AG announced this week. The eEconic, designed specifically for municipal use, is based on the Mercedes-Benz eActros and is intended to follow it into series production in 2022.
The electric truck models are set to be assembled alongside trucks with conventional drives in a flexible process. The construction of the different vehicle types should in principle be integrated as far as possible, with the basic vehicle structure being built on one line regardless of whether it will be getting a conventional combustion engine or an electric powertrain. Certain modifications will be made to the production process to accommodate the different types of vehicle. The installation of various non-conventional drive components will take place in a separate process, as will the assembly of the electric powertrain for the eActros: the centrepiece of the eActros manufacturing process is going to be the production hall in building 75 of the Wörth plant. For around a year, work has been going on to convert the building and prepare it for the new production processes. This includes setting up a new assembly line on which the construction of all the electrical architecture of the eActros, in particular the high-voltage components, will take place, as will its initial operation. Subsequently, the vehicles will be fed back into the regular production process for finishing and final inspection.
At the IAA in 2016, Mercedes-Benz Trucks became the first manufacturer worldwide to present a heavy-duty electric truck. At the beginning of 2018, the technological leader celebrated the world première of the fully redeveloped Mercedes-Benz eActros and since the autumn of 2018 it has been undergoing intensive practical trials with customers. The vehicles for the customer tests were built in a collaborative effort between the sites Wörth, Mannheim and Stuttgart.
The findings from the customer tests are being fed directly into the further development of the prototype, ultimately making their way into the series-production vehicle. So far they have shown that the fully battery-electric eActros is the ideal vehicle for sustainable heavy-duty distribution. When used in urban traffic, on freeways or in overland traffic, it is in no way inferior to a conventional diesel truck when it comes to availability and power delivery. The prototype’s range of around 200 kilometres has proven to be perfectly realistic – regardless of load, route or topography. Drivers are visibly impressed by the continuous availability of the torque across the entire speed range. They also mentioned in particular the pleasant and smooth driving experience. Furthermore, if the truck is driven with foresight, electrical energy can be recovered through recuperation, i.e. motor braking.
The series-production eActros will be significantly superior to the existing prototype in a variety of areas, such as range, drive power and safety. With regard to payload, the series-production eActros will also be on a par with the conventional Actros. The eActros will be available at launch as a two-axle and a three-axle model. Daimler Trucks will integrate the vehicle into a comprehensive ecosystem which will also include consultancy services relating to electric mobility. Among these are route analysis, checking for possible subsidies, support with operational fleet integration and formulating suitable solutions for charging infrastructure.
Investing in the future: Econic will also be electrified
From 2022, the battery-electric Mercedes-Benz eEconic will also roll off the production line at Wörth, in addition to the eActros. This constitutes a further step taken by Daimler Trucks on the path towards the electrification of trucks. The eActros will provide the technical basis for the eEconic. Both vehicles also benefit from the global platform strategy of Daimler Trucks & Buses. In this way, the series production of the electric models can be seamlessly extended. With its ergonomic qualities and safety features, the eEconic is ideally suited as a refuse collection and disposal vehicle for municipal use, above all in urban traffic. This usage lends itself very well to battery-electric vehicles due to the relatively short and strictly scheduled routes of around 100 kilometres with a large proportion of stop-start driving.
Daimler Trucks is consistently driving forward the transformation of its business model towards a locally CO2-neutral future. Future investment in the global production network of Mercedes-Benz Trucks is also planned. There will be a strong focus on infrastructure measures and investment in special-purpose machinery and technical facilities.
Production in Wörth will also be CO2-neutral
In addition, Daimler Trucks & Buses is setting the course for “green” production in Germany and Europe: it is planned that all German and European plants will be supplied by CO₂-neutral energy by 2022. All other plants will follow. In concrete terms, this means that the electrical energy purchased by the existing truck and bus factories will only be received from renewable sources. The Wörth plant too will shift progressively to green production and in so doing contribute to the decarbonisation of Daimler Trucks.